Dr Louise Marryat

Research Fellow


Current evidence suggests that children born to drug-dependent mothers are at a developmental disadvantage from pre-birth: such children have reduced intrauterine growth, which cannot be explained by poverty or other socio-demographic factors (Lui et al., 2010). Children who have been exposed to chronic opioid use are likely to experience Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Children are additionally affected in the postnatal period by the mother’s ability to recognise and respond to the newborn’s cues (Velez et al. 2008). Children’s development is often compounded by the environment that they experience growing up (Hidden Harm report, 2003). However, research to date has focussed primarily on the infancy period, and most being conducted with very small sample numbers.