A fetus cannot "just say no to drugs." Use of substances of abuse during pregnancy has skyrocketed in recent years, due in part to the ready availability of crack cocaine. The media have decried the burdens on our health care and educational systems imposed by the adverse consequences of prenatal exposure to cocaine. But how much do we really know about the effects of this insult? Is prenatal cocaine exposure a convenient excuse for the adverse outcomes associated with a myriad of physical and social ills afflicting the drug-using population? This volume presents the most recent scientifically-based knowledge about prenatal exposure to substances of abuse. Written by prominent researchers in the field, it describes what we do and do not know about: * the mechanisms of the action of cocaine on the developing brain, * strategies for studying this complex issue, * the implications of drug exposure and a drug-using environment for long-term functioning in the cognitive, social and emotional domains, and * possible intervention strategies to prevent developmental problems in children at high risk.
This volume will be a valuable addition to the libraries of researchers, policymakers and practitioners concerned about cocaine-exposed infants.