Maternal use of cocaine has numerous adverse effects on offspring. Due to its low molecular mass, it is able to penetrate the placenta, impacting a fetus during pregnancy. Thus, at the early development stage, it may lead to several issues, such as the abnormal formation of limbs, orofacial clefts, and congenital heart diseases, as well as other congenital abnormalities (Villa, n.d.). More importantly, cocaine is known to create neurodevelopmental issues that can contribute to long-term effects throughout the offspring’s childhood.
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The most common outcomes include behavioral disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), language development issues, and oppositional defiant disorder (Villa, n.d.). In addition, children of cocaine abusers can encounter difficulties with procedural learning, thus impairing early school performance, experience memory shortages, and are prone to deficiencies in perceptual reasoning. Finally, some of their executive functions can be disrupted.
Cocaine addiction developed during fetus development can also lead to social issues in the long run. For instance, children of cocaine abusers are more likely to become substance abusers at an early age. The most common substances are tobacco and marijuana. While the exact causality mechanism behind the correlation is yet to be established, it is clear that maternal use of cocaine contributes to the issue.
Finally, children of cocaine abusers experience a number of difficulties throughout their childhood. These difficulties include the inability to control emotions, weaker stress resilience, and a lower capacity for problem-solving (Villa, n.d.). As a result, they are less likely to integrate into their social environment and more likely to excel at school. In the long term, these issues may result in the inability to find employment and impede social functioning.
Villa, L. (n.d.). Cocaine use during pregnancy. Web.