Prenatal Cocaine Exposure: Scientific Considerations and Policy Implications

Synopsis

New research has shown that children exposed to cocaine before birth are at risk of learning and behavioral problems. Such problems have broad implications for education, social welfare, and criminal justice in the U.S. However, there are numerous opportunities to minimize prenatal cocaine exposure and its impacts and thus to enhance the well-being of women and their children. A collaboration with the New York Academy of sciences, this report presents an overview of the current state of knowledge regarding the effects of cocaine on the developing brain and offers policy considerations for addressing the issues that arise from cocaine use by pregnant women.