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Caring for Pregnant Persons with Substance Use Disorder: Shifting from Criminalization to Chronic Disease Management


Published Date: 04/19/2022

Expiration Date: 03/31/2025

CE Credit: CME:1CNE: 1


Substance use disorders (SUD) among pregnant persons can cause increased risk of serious medical complications throughout and following birth. The prevalence of SUD among pregnant persons is increasing across the United States, and it is critical that medical providers receive current information, recommendations and best practices related to the identification and treatment of SUD during pregnancy to minimize negative health outcomes for both mother and baby. This course will describe ways in which racial and moral constructs have shaped medical diagnosis and management of SUD in pregnancy, and review key issues faced by pregnant persons with SUD. It will provide attendees with an understanding of appropriate referrals and treatment options to care for pregnant people with SUD.


Effective June 27, 2023 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced a one-time requirement of 8 hours of training on the treatment and management of patients with opioid or other substance use disorders for practitioners who are applying for or renewing their DEA license. This 1-hour ACCME-accredited course meets the DEA/SAMHSA requirement.


Alexandra W. Douglas ,MD, MPH

Alexandra Douglas, MD, MPH is an attending OBGYN in the Generalist Division at Montefiore Medical Center where she serves as the residency rotation director of the Weiler labor floor, and leads their program on substance use disorders in pregnancy. Her background is somewhat atypical. She studied International Studies and Feminist and Queer Studies at Macalester College. Her early research focused on harm reduction and sex worker unionization efforts. She lived and worked all over the world–from Thailand, Venezuela and Bolivia to Norway and Burundi–before finally settling on a career in medicine. Dr. Douglas completed her post-baccalaureate premedical program at Hopkins and medical school, in addition to a masters in public health, here at Sinai before continuing on to residency at Montefiore. She continues to be involved in global health and passionate about obstetric justice.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand, through example, how racial and moral constructs have historically shaped medical diagnosis and management of substance use disorder (SUD) in pregnancy.
  • Review key issues faced by pregnant persons with substance use disorders when navigating care systems.
  • Provide appropriate referrals for pregnant persons with substance use disorders.

Continuing Education Credit Information