Faculty associates Sonia Minnes and Lynn Singer received a $2.5 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to launch the next phase of their Project Newborn research. Project Newborn was started 20 years ago to investigate health and development outcomes of babies born to cocaine-addicted mothers. This next phase of the project will focus on the original participants of Project Newborn as they enter early adulthood. Over the next four years the new study will focus on investigating rates of substance abuse, educational attainment, quality of relationships and behavior. One of the goals of the new phase is to be able to develop interventions that are timed to when prenatally drug-exposed children may be more susceptible to using drugs, getting involved in criminal activities or dropping out of school.
Findings from Project Newborn have shown that prenatal cocaine exposure has subtle, but significant, effects on children’s development. Children in the study have been shown to have more problems with attention, behavior and drug use than children in a control group. Researchers hope that in the next phase they will be able to see if as young adults they have been able to overcome some of these challenges.