Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Perinatal substance abuse is a dangerous and detrimental problem faced by providers. Many questions arise when suspecting perinatal substance use. When is the appropriate time to screen? Are there clinical signs that providers can use to guide their decision? Is there the need for a tool that providers can use to guide their decisions? Screening for perinatal substance use is a difficult choice for providers. If a tool existed that would allow providers to screen for perinatal substance abuse based on clinical signs and symptoms, the judgment would lie in the evidence, and not with the provider. A screening tool gives the provider the information needed to make an evidenced based decision.

It is the purpose of this paper to present the reader with the evidence that perinatal substance use/abuse exists, that perinatal substance abuse is prevalent in our society, and that it is not sufficiently being screened for. Although there are many tools available to screen women of childbearing age for alcohol use, there are few such tools available to screen for illicit drug use. Adequate screening will lead to decreased maternal and newborn complications. Therefore, an additional purpose of this paper is to create a tool to be used by providers when screening for perinatal substance abuse. This tool will give providers the evidence needed to provide non- judgmental, evidence based care. Screening will lead to recognition of a problem, which will lead to treatment and care, and will reduce complications suffered by mothers and their newborns.