The Opioid Epidemic and Foster Care System
May 3, 2018

The Opioid Epidemic and Foster Care System

As if the opioid epidemic didn’t already seem to be overwhelming our communities, countries, and even our world, the effects that the epidemic is having on our children is devastating and tragic. We’ve discussed some of these effects in our previous article; however, you might be surprised at the overwhelming destruction it is causing for thousands of children.

When children are involved in opioid overdose or opioid abuse cases, it is not uncommon that they are forced to be removed from their homes, from the supervision of the opioid addict, and placed into foster care. The amount of children being placed into the foster care system has more than doubled itself in just the last three years.

Among the cases of children being removed from their homes, social workers are also seeing a higher rate of children coming in from the NICU – those being born as opioid addicts due to the mother having an opioid abuse problem. These babies face recovery, many times extremely lengthy and taxing, then they are released into the foster care system with only the hope of being reunited with their parents at a later time. Unfortunately, “for far too many children, a system that was supposed to be a temporary safe haven became their permanent childhood” (Brooking.edu). The opioid epidemic is doing nothing but worsening these unfortunate scenarios.

With the rise in demand for quality foster families, states are struggling to keep up. The foster care system was already struggling to provide children with quality foster families, and the opioid epidemic has only placed more stress on the situation. Already unable to fully provide for these children, there is no question that there is even less of a chance that these children will receive proper counseling geared towards their specific situation, leaving them with dyer issues to face as adults.

Brookings reported that David Patterson Silver Wolf, an associate professor at Washington University, said that today’s epidemic is different from those prior to the opioid epidemic. He says, “The first was a heroin epidemic during the closing years of the Vietnam War. The death rate during that epidemic was about 1 per 100,000 people. Our second occurred in the early 1980s during the crack epidemic. The death rate during this epidemic was about 2 per 100,000. Our current opioid overdose epidemic’s death rate is about 10 per 100,000”, an astronomical increase from the two previous epidemics.

With these numbers continuously on the rise, more children will be pushed into foster care and pulled away from their families. Although many are working to help opioid addicts and areas that unknowingly contribute to their addiction, the efforts must spread to include ALL people and all aspects of the opioid epidemic.

At Rx Disposal, we strive to do our part and provide quality medication disposal products. Our products will help to decrease drug diversion and ultimately, in the big picture, save lives. Our solution is the only liquid onsite medication disposal solution that can render old, unused, or unwanted medications immediately non-retrievable. We created this solution with the intention of people seizing back control from the opioid epidemic, helping others to decrease the risk of opioid addiction in their own households, and decreasing those risks associated with storing excess opioids at hospitals, pharmacies, and other healthcare facilities.

Do your part, help your community and household, and be part of the solution. 1.303.434.1630

Sources:

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2018/01/31/the-foster-care-system-was-unprepared-for-the-last-drug-epidemic-lets-not-repeat-history/

https://www.npr.org/2017/12/23/573021632/the-foster-care-system-is-flooded-with-children-of-the-opioid-epidemic

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