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kids feeling impact of opioid crisis

Increasing Number of Children Entering Foster Care Due to the Opioid Crisis

The direct effects of the opioid crisis have been well documented. People suffering from opioid dependency are likely to die of overdoses or are in requirement of opioid dependency treatment programs. Their lives are likely to be greatly affected leaving them unable to work, function normally or act as caregivers.

However, some of the additional effects of opioid dependency are less obvious. One example that is becoming increasingly apparent is that more and more children with parents suffering from opioid dependency are entering short or long-term foster care.

The Total Number of Children Entering Foster Care is Increasing Rapidly

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration, between 2013 and 2015, the number of children in foster care in the United States jumped by almost seven percent – a total of well over 400,000 children. Around 32 percent of all foster placements were due to parental substance abuse – a 10 percent rise from 2005. It is also clear that countless children are not getting access to the services that they need, as such separation from their parents can lead to massive physiological issues.

“This is a neglected subpopulation,” said John Kelly PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry in addiction medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Because we’re trying to put out the fire in terms of stopping overdose deaths, we haven’t really been attending to other casualties, including kids most importantly.” Kelly is also the founder and director of the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Psychologists say they have seen a massive increase in the number of children admitted into foster care since 2010 and place the blame squarely at the feet of the opioid epidemic. In Baltimore, for example, there has been a 30 percent increase in foster-care placements been 2014 and 2017.

Because of the Numbers, the System is Failing the Needs of Children Admitted Into Foster Care

There is a growing awareness for the need to cope with the challenges to the mental health of children who are suddenly uprooted from the family home and forced to live with complete strangers. It seems though, that these challenges are not being met, and this is largely due to the number of children who are entering the system.

“I think it’s more urgent than ever that we as psychologists step up to the plate,” said Hendree Jones PHD, executive director of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s ‘Horizons’ program. “Our voices need to be heard for solutions for the epidemic that we’re facing.”

If you have been affected by the complexities of opioid addiction and are seeking help, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team here at Advanced Rapid Detox. We offer a number of opiate detox programs that can help you to regain control over your life and hopefully allow you to have a better relationship with your kids. We can be contacted by phone at (800) 603-1813, or by using our online contact form.