Drugs Blamed for Ectopic Pregnancy Deaths in Florida

By McCarton Ackerman 02/17/12

The death rate from the condition is four times higher than it was just a few years ago.

Drug use during pregnancy can be fatal
to mother and child.
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Illicit drug use may be partly to blame for a fourfold increase in ectopic pregnancy-related deaths among Florida women in recent years, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Florida's death rate from ectopic pregnancy was similar to the national rate at 0.6 deaths per 100,000 births from 1999-2008, with 13 deaths recorded in total. But that figure jumped to 2.5 deaths per 100,000 births in 2009-2010, with 11 recorded deaths during that period. The proportion of deaths caused by ectopic pregnancies in the state soared from 3.5% of all pregnancy-related deaths to 10.8%. Several of the 11 women who died from ectopic pregnancies in Florida during 2009-2010 tested positive for illicit drug use, including cocaine. "This is the first report of an abrupt increase in ectopic pregnancy deaths identified in the United States in recent times," note the researchers. Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition that occurs when an egg is fertilized outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. It can result in the mother's death from hemorrhage due to rupture.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.