Brief interventions for illicit drug use among peripartum women

Sherry L. Farr, Yalonda L. Hutchings, Steven J. Ondersma, Andreea A. Creanga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We review the evidence and identify limitations of the current literature on the effectiveness of brief interventions (≤5 intervention sessions) on illicit drug use, treatment enrollment/retention, and pregnancy outcomes among pregnant and postpartum women; and consider this evidence in the context of the broader brief intervention literature. Among 4 published studies identified via systematic review and meeting a priori quality criteria, we found limited, yet promising evidence of the benefit of brief interventions to reduce illicit drug use among postpartum women. Two of the 4 randomized controlled trials tested similar computer-delivered single-session interventions; both demonstrate effects on postpartum drug use. Neither of the 2 randomized controlled trials that assessed treatment use found differences between intervention and control groups. Studies examining brief interventions for smoking and alcohol use among pregnant women, and for illicit drug use in the general adult population, have shown small but statistically significant results of the effectiveness of such interventions. Larger studies, those that examine the effect of assessment alone on illicit drug use, and those that use technology-delivered brief interventions are needed to assess the effectiveness of brief interventions for drug use in the peripartum period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-343
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • brief interventions
  • illicit drugs
  • postpartum
  • pregnant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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