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Prenatal Meth Use Related to Behavior Problems in Young Children


Prenatal use of methamphetamine is associated with behavior problems in children as young as 3 years. The study, “Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure and Childhood Behavior Problems at 3 and 5 Years of Age,” in the April 2012 issue of Pediatrics (published online March 19) used maternal self-reporting and/or meconium results to determine prenatal methamphetamine use as part of a prospective, longitudinal study. The authors found that children as young as age 3 had an increased risk of emotional reactivity and anxiety/depression. By age 5, children prenatally exposed to methamphetamine were at higher risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

The authors conclude that early detection of specific methamphetamine-associated behavioral syndromes, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD and emotional volatility, could lead to the development of better prevention and intervention programs for these children.​


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. (