Back to the BYU Cougars Newsfeed

Decades ago, researchers overstated the plight of ‘crack babies.’ Now a Utah study asks: Is science making the same mistake on opioids?

Researchers at the University of Utah hoped to find answers about the risks facing babies whose mothers use opioids while they are pregnant.

But the data they found in existing medical literature was far from conclusive — even though previous studies claimed to have found significant health effects on the children.

“A lot of the authors ended up in their abstracts [saying that] prenatal opioid exposure has an effect on this cognitive outcome,” Liz Conradt, an assistant psychology professor at the U., said in an interview. “But the finding did not hold when you controlled for socioeconomic environment.