With the upcoming task force formed by Senate Bill 1517, I am confident Oklahoma has taken a major step forward in overcoming the high rate of adverse childhood experiences that affects our residents.
For those of you not familiar with ACEs, this is the study of childhood trauma and the associated health-related conditions that follow into adulthood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration as well as lifelong health and opportunity. As such, early experiences are an important public health issue. In Oklahoma, they are particularly relevant, as multiple research organizations have consistently ranked our state as having one of the highest rates of ACEs in the nation.
The study that discovered the links to childhood trauma and adult health was the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, one of the largest investigations of childhood abuse and neglect and later-life health and well-being. The original ACE study was conducted at Kaiser Permanente from 1995 to 1997 with two waves of data collection. Researchers pieced together the issues to document 10 types of trauma – ranging from growing up in poverty to witnessing a parent or guardian abuse drugs or alcohol – that make up ACEs.
New research, which we expect the Oklahoma task force to examine, could offer ways not only to address child well-being but also to minimize destructive behavior found in adults. Per a recent article on the Aces Too High website, Dr. Daniel Sumrok, director of the Center for Addiction Sciences at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Medicine, has developed a connection with addiction and ACEs. Sumrok, a family physician and former U.S. Army Green Beret who has served rural areas of Tennessee for the last 28 years, combines the latest science of addiction and applies it to his patients, most of whom are addicted to opioids – but also to alcohol, food, sex, gambling, and other such issues.
To continue reading this op-ed by Joe Dorman, go to: http://journalrecord.com/2018/...incarceration-rates/