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The Economic Costs of Alcohol and Drug Abuse in the United States - 1992

Table 4.15

Effects of Specific Drugs on Infant Health, Growth, and Development


Effects on Health and Growth

Effects on Development and Behavior


Risk for reduced birth weight and reduced birth length.

Some evidence of lower performance in the areas of motor ability, memory, and verbal ability, but firm conclusions are lacking.


Risk for low birth weight for gestational age; smaller head circumference; neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), whose signs include diarrhea, fever, sneezing, yawning, tremors, seizures, irregular breathing, and irritability.

Risk for high levels of arousal and irritability, tremulousness, and motor behavior up to 1 month after birth, but the statistical differences between exposed and nonexposed infants in terms of behavior and development tend to be small.


Increased risk for miscarriage or stillbirth; increased risk for premature delivery; reduced birth length; reduced head size; reduced weight; statistically significant increased risk for congenital malformations.

Risk for delays in motor growth on muscle tone, primitive reflexes, and volitional movement; irritability; potential for altered nerve cell organization and interaction.


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