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Evaluation of the Supporting pregnant women who use alcohol or other drugs

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Date Commenced:
Expected Date of Completion:
Project Supporters:

Australian Government, Substance Misuse Prevention and Service Improvement Fund

Project Members: 
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Dr Courtney Breen
Adjunct Senior Lecturer
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Research Officer
Ph +61 2 9385 0407
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Honorary Associate Professor
Ph 02 9385 0258
Project Main Description: 

Substance use among pregnant women is a significant public health issue. A range of adverse effects have been noted including increased risk of miscarriage and still birth, reduction in fetal growth, birth defects, developmental delay, growth retardation and neurological abnormalities.

To date work in Australia has described the prevalence and correlates of substance use in pregnancy. Given the harms associated with substance use in pregnancy largely occur in women who are substance dependent it is timely that work now be undertaken to minimise the harms in this group.


As women are less likely to present in specialist services it is important to detect and manage women who are pregnant and dependent on alcohol and /or other drugs in non-specialist settings. A resource was developed to assist primary care health professionals in the identification, management and if appropriate, referral of women who are pregnant and have a substance misuse problem.


To evaluate the utility and effectiveness of the guide, Supporting pregnant women who use alcohol or other drugs: A guide for primary care professionals.

Design and Method: 

This will be determined by measures of screening and referral as well as feedback of the resource itself.  The evaluation will be undertaken in 13 pilot settings selected and funded to participate by the Department of Health.  There are 5 sites in NSW and 2 each in VIC, SA, QLD and WA.  Given the high workload of the clinical setting the evaluation is structured so as not to impose undue additional work on participating services.


Interviews conducted with services and training provided to implementation sites.


To be provided 2017.


Video, presentations, report.


To be provided 2017.

Project Research Area: 
Project Status: