By Cathy Thomas Brownfield, Salem News, November 30, 2019
Our region has recognized the realities of the opioid epidemic, and that it spreads across the country, not just in our area. There has been a lot of discussion about overdose deaths and Naloxone. But how much discussion have you heard about the effects of the opioid epidemic on the children, adolescents, indeed, the family of the person who is caught up in the abuse of opioids?
The National Institutes of Health’s U.S. National Library of Medicine shares that opioid-related deaths have increased over the past 20 years. But during that time, the attention given to impact on children and families has been very little. There are concerns about ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) with serious consequences that include loss of a parent to opioid overdose, the family torn apart with a parent’s incarceration, accidental opioid poisoning, increased chances of a child developing a substance use disorder of their own, and increased mental health issues.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) fact sheet states that 82.5 percent of people in Ohio suffering from drug dependence or abuse go untreated. Nationwide, 8.7 million children have a parent who suffers from a substance use disorder. In Ohio, 10,769 children were placed in foster care in 2016, 17 percent of which were infants.