Date of Graduation

Summer 2017

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing



Research Sponsor

Debra Horning

First Reader

Dr. Michelle Zelko

Second Reader

Dr. Sherri Hartman


Prenatal opioid abuse is a serious public health concern and linked with numerous health consequences for both mothers and children. Despite research describing negative outcomes of drug use during pregnancy, it is still a prevalent problem in the United States, with researchers finding that women are at highest risk for substance abuse during their reproductive years. Opioid abuse during pregnancy is common, including opioids such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and heroin. Use of these drugs results in both short and long term side effects for the mother and child. Therefore, the prevalence of this problem should not be underestimated. It is important for nurses to understand this problem and promote health in populations of women, specifically of reproductive age, and children with the use of evidence-based practice. The purpose of this review is to describe and critically analyze evidence about outcomes of prenatal illicit opioid abuse in pregnant women and treatment methods utilized in an attempt to increase the likelihood of favorable outcomes. This will be done by completing a literature review consisting of professional academic sources published within the past ten years.