Alcohol and Substance Use
Perinatal alcohol and substance use damages the physical, mental, and social well-being of women and hurts children, families, and communities. Of all the substances of abuse (including cocaine, heroin and marijuana), alcohol produces by far the most serious neurobehavioral effects in the fetus, known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Smoking not only poses risk for pregnancy complications but also for low birth weight, asthma, and sudden death (SIDS) in infants.
Among California, low-income women included in the 2013-14 Maternal and Infant Health Assessment (MIHA) Survey, up to 30% reported smoking before, during, or after pregnancy, up to 30% reported binge drinking before getting pregnant, and up to 13% reported drinking during the third trimester. While those rates are stable or down from previous years, and many women reduced their substance use upon learning they were pregnant, it’s no surprise that a top state priority is to prevent and decrease perinatal substance use. WIC Can Help! provide information and referral to help prevent these harmful effects.
What Local Agencies Can Do:
- Ensure that women know of the dangers of alcohol and substance use, including smoking, especially during pregnancy. Refer to the Substance Use Prevention Screening, Education, and Referral Resource Guide for Local WIC Agencies updated September 2017.
- Remind participants that, under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance plans under Covered California cover mental health and substance use disorder services, including screening for tobacco use and covering (without cost-sharing) at least two tobacco cessation attempts per year for those who use tobacco products.
- Use the resources below to tell families where they can turn for help.
- Start Your Recovery — tools to help individuals take steps toward a healthy relationship with drugs/alcohol; customizable for family/friends and health professionals wanting to encourage and support
- Drinking and Your Pregnancy Info Page and print brochure (NIAAA; 4th grade reading level)
- Screen Your Alcohol Intake — confidential self-assessment of alcohol consumption
- Drugs, Alcohol & Smoking info for teens at girlshealth.gov (USDHHS)
- California Smoker’s Helpline: 1-800-NO-BUTTS
- Quitting Vaping
- Quitting Smokeless Tobacco
- Quick facts on the risks of e-cigarettes for kids, teens, and young adults.
- No Butts, a free mobile app for iPhone to help smokers quit
- Information on Smoking and Pregnancy
- Free Services for Pregnant Smokers – including phone counseling, self-help materials, and incentives
- Free phone support and subscription quitting aids for Medi-Cal members
- Marijuana and Pregnancy in English and Spanish (Alameda Co. Health Dept.)
- Directories for Substance Use Disorder Services: non-emergency referrals & information (CA Dept of Health Care Services)
Phone: 1-800-879-2772 or 1-916-327-3728
- Know Your Risks of Opioid Abuse
- NEW! Read about Opioid Abuse, signs of addiction, and what to do if you or someone you know is addicted from the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
- Treatment Referral Helpline (SAMSHA):
1-800-662-HELP (4357) (English & Español)
- Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator is SAMSHA’s online, searchable directory
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
- NEW! There are also services available for family members and friends of substance users at Al-Anon and Alateen
- Narcotics Anonymous in Northern CA and Southern CA
Information for Professionals:
- Provider Toolkits: Child Health Providers Helping Family Members Quit Tobacco Use and Smoking, Nicotine, and the Brain; both include webinar recording & slide deck, patient fact sheets (CA Smokers’ Helpline)
- Secondhand Smoke Exposure Information and Resources: free online training for pediatric professionals to help parents stop smoking, including free nicotine patches (First 5)
- Substance Use Prevention Screening, Education, and Referral Resource Guide for Local WIC Agencies (USDA/FNS, updated 2017)
- Free Web-Based Referral Service for Evidence-Based Tobacco Cessation (CA Smokers’ Helpline)
- Marijuana Use During Pregnancy and Lactation (ACOG Committee Opinion)
- Smoking and Reproduction Fact Sheet (CDC)
- NEW! Treating Maternal Opioid Addiction with Buprenorphine – webinar recording (CA Health Care Foundation)
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Resources for Prevention and Care