Follow-up of children of drug-addicted mothers.
During a period of 2 years (1971-72) 19 newborn infants were admitted to hospital because their mothers were drug addicts. To evaluate the prognosis in these children, 17 were followed up by a social adviser, a psychologist, and a paediatrician. During the neonatal period 16 of the infants had withdrawal symptoms, for which 11 required medical treatment. One infant died of congenital malformations. Of the surviving 18 infants 14 were discharged to their mothers and 4 went to a children's home. During follow-up, which varied from up to 2 months to up to 2 years 8 months of age, 10 of the children had to be placed in a children's home for a period. No physical abnormalities were found in the children. Motor and perceptual development were normal in 12 but in 3 speech development was delayed. Five mothers ceased to take drugs after delivery and 2 had done so during early pregnancy. The pre- and perinatal complications and the undesirable environment in which the children grow up show the need for a comprehensive treatment programme.