Of 101 neonates at a New Jersey hospital, 40 percent test positive for drugs of abuse

New Orleans -- Newark, NJ is one of the nations oldest industrial cities. While there have been improvements in the local economy, poverty and its associated problems, including drug abuse, are still entrenched in many areas. Accordingly, it is expected that some newborns will enter the world having been exposed to drugs of abuse before their life begins.

Each year, some 2,000 children are born at the Newark-based University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey/New Jersey Medical School (UMDNJ/NJMS) and its affiliated clinical teaching institution, University Hospital. When clinically appropriate, a urine sample is taken from the infant and sent to the hospital laboratory for drug testing. It requires between 24-48 hours to complete the test and deliver results to the neonatologist or pediatrician. In an attempt to develop more rapid results and gain a better understanding of the extent of the problem, a team of researchers utilized an investigational product to test 101 infants born at UMDNJ/NJMS for the presence of drugs of abuse.

Kenneth W. Lieberman, Salma Ali and George Alexander, all of the UMDNJ/NJMS and University Hospital, conducted the study, Laboratory Testing of Neonates Exposed to Drugs of Abuse. The researchers will present their findings in full during the American Physiological Societys (APS) annual meeting, part of the "Experimental Biology 2002 conference. More than 12,000 attendees will attend the conference being held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA from April 20-24, 2002.


A total of 101 infants were included in the study that was conducted over a three-month period conducted in 1998. The identity of the newborn was coded to assure complete anonymity, even to the research team.

Urine was collected from the infants and tested for the presence of cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, phencyclidine, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cannabinoids and propoxyphene.

Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

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