Author Interviews, JAMA, Opiods, Pediatrics / 23.03.2020 Interview with: Leah Nelson, MD MS Addiction Medicine Fellow University of New Mexico What is the background for this study? Response: With the progression of the opioid epidemic over the past decade, more women of reproductive age are seeking treatment for addiction. Many more pregnant women are prescribed methadone and buprenorphine, two opioid medications that prevent relapse and overdose. Maternal use of mediations for opioid use disorder is recommended because it lowers the risk to the fetus from uncontrolled drug use and also allows the mother to engage with prenatal care and social work. Subsequently, the number of infants born after prenatal exposure to opioids is increasing. Several previous studies have shown measurable differences in the cognitive scores of children after prenatal opioid exposure. However, much of the previous work was done on convenience samples (easy to recruit rather than rigorously matched for comparability) and the demographic characteristics of both mothers and children in the exposed and unexposed groups varied widely on important factors such as maternal education, socioeconomics, employment, tobacco use, and infant gender. Each of these factors has been demonstrated to impact early childhood development in the absence of opioid exposure. (more…)