Ira Chasnoff, MD, recently presented his findings on substance use during pregnancy by Luna County women from September 2008 through June 2013.
Chasnoff reported that Luna County is the only place, in the over 40 states in which he has worked, that alcohol use goes up after women find out they are pregnant.
The majority of alcohol use by pregnant women is less than one drink a week, but 20% report consuming one to two drinks of alcoholic beverages a week while pregnant.
Most OB/GYN doctors feel no amount of alcohol consumed during pregnancy is safe.
Chasnoff also reported that Luna County’s pregnant women have a high rate of depression, charting at 16%.
Chasnoff is president of the Children's Research Triangle and a professor of pediatrics at the University Of Illinois College Of Medicine in Chicago.
His research projects include a study of the long-term cognitive, behavioral and educational developmental effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol, cocaine and other drugs.
He also studies the effects of prenatal treatment and counseling – as well as the effectiveness of both outpatient and residential treatment programs – for pregnant drug abusers.
Chasnoff’s research was funded through the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, but that funding has ceased.
Community Health Promotion Specialist Elizabeth Burr with the New Mexico Department of Health said the project will continue through the Luna County CHANCES program.