According to the New York Time’s editorial board, the victims of the opioid epidemic are not just the addicts. Young children, and babies are victims, as well.
The Times writes about a Pennsylvania couple that died from a heroin overdose.
Authorities found their bodies a week later. Not only was the couple found dead, but also the police discovered the couple’s young infant inside a bassinet. The baby had starved to death.
Sometimes, children whose parents are addicts are usually taken away from the Department of Social Services. Unless they are placed under the care of a loving relative, they end up in foster care.
While living in a foster home can save their lives, being removed from their own home can be very traumatic for children. Some youngsters struggle with guilt and blame themselves for a parent’s substance abuse. Even if children were abused at home, often they struggle with feelings of sadness and loss.
So substance abuse does not just affect addicts, but it destroys the lives of children.
While there are many wonderful foster parents out there, the children are left with serious emotional baggage. And not all foster homes are healthy alternatives. Some kids end up worse than they were before. And then some children get bounced around from foster home to foster home like pogo sticks.
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, thanks to the crack-cocaine epidemic, the number of children in foster care in New York City was a staggering 42,100. Across the United States, there were between 300, 000 and 570,000 children in the system!
These days the numbers are almost as bad. Across the nation, there has been an increase in the number of children who are taken away for their homes by social workers and put in foster care.
In 2013, there were 401,213 foster children. The numbers increased to 427,910 by September 30, 2015.
One reason for these large numbers is the nationwide opioid epidemic.
During his campaign, President Trump promised to end the opioid epidemic. He said he was going to build a wall to stop drugs from coming into our country from Mexico. Later on, Trump said that he was going to have naloxone more readily accessible. Naloxone is a life saving drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Usually, naloxone was reserved for ambulances and emergency rooms, but now in light of the rising opioid pandemic, many civilians are being trained to use naloxone, as well as administer CPR to addicts who have overdosed on heroin and other opiates.
However, if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, many addicts will lose treatment for their substance abuse disorders. Additionally, the ACA helps addicts get help for co-occurring disorders.
So while President Trump might feel that a wall is going to help the war against drugs, the addicts behind the wall are going to continue suffering.
And if Trump ever watched the show, Narcos, he will see that during the 1980s, cocaine was smuggled into the country from Columbia. And today, Fentanyl, a deadly opiate is making its way from China!
And guess what?
Some of these drugs come from our own backyard.
Purdue Pharma, a privately held company, which is based in Stamford, Connecticut, produces the highly addictive opiate painkiller, OxyContin. The state of Kentucky filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, stating that the company had deceived the public about the drug’s addictiveness. Although the case was settled, and Purdue Pharma handed 24 million over to Kentucky, OxyContin is highly addictive.
During the hearing, the courts ruled that Kentucky used the money towards drug addiction programs.
One solution for the opiate epidemic is clinical, evidence-based treatment.
Not only will proper treatment help addicts get clean and sober, plus help them mend from depression, anxiety, trauma and other co-occurring disorders, but also they will have a second chance at a new life.
And their children will get a chance to be with their parents and have happy and healthy lives.