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November 3, 1989

Drug Tests in Pregnant Women: Abuse of Substance or of Test?

Author Affiliations

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation New York, NY

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation New York, NY

JAMA. 1989;262(17):2383-2384. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430170043015

To the Editor.—  In their article entitled "Substance Abuse," Drs Schnoll and Karan1 note the increase in the amount of random urine testing done by employers and government agencies and raise an important issue: "Are we dealing with a witch-hunt," they ask, "or a process that will significantly reduce the problems of drug abuse?" Unfortunately, they do not attempt to answer this important question, one that should be answered in the affirmative for the first half and in the negative for the second half.Their question is very meaningful today, given the enormous increase in numbers of children born with some evidence of drugs in their system as a result of their mother's drug use during pregnancy. A study conducted by the Perinatal Addiction Research and Education Center, Chicago, Ill, estimated that 10% of all deliveries are associated with drug use (New York Times. January 9, 1989:A10; New York