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Problem drug use in pregnancy affects a sizeable population in Europe. A literature review was carried out of articles in PubMed, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction publications, and related documents in order to assess public health challenges and possible intervention strategies related to problem drug use and pregnancy in Europe. It revealed the following: Involving pregnant drug users in drug treatment is likely to decrease the chances of pre- and perinatal complications related to drug use and to increase access to prenatal care. Timely medical intervention can effectively prevent vertical transmission of human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B virus as well as certain other sexually transmitted diseases, and would allow newborns infected with hepatitis C virus during birth to receive immediate treatment. Pregnancy may be a unique opportunity to also help women with dual diagnosis (substance use combined with mental illness) and enrol them into special treatment and support programmes. Issues related to homelessness and intimate partner violence can also be addressed with appropriate interventions. Treatment and care for pregnant drug users should offer coordinated interventions in several areas: drug use, infectious diseases, mental health, personal and social welfare, and gynaecological/obstetric care.


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