Opioid Epidemic Strains Foster Care System

heroin2It happened during the crack-cocaine crisis, and again during the methamphetamine crisis.

Now, during the opioid crisis, it’s worse. Opioid use has driven a 19 percent increase in the number of children removed from their homes and placed with relatives since 2010.

Some children are born addicted to opioids, facing painful withdrawal and complications. Others grow up in addiction’s shadow. They live in squalor, with empty pantries and refrigerators, amid garbage containing broken glass and sharp-edged cans, cut open to be used as pipes. They live without heat and electricity. They watch their parents pass out. They watch them overdose and die, creating a new class of victims.

“The Children of the Opioid Crisis” are traumatized and increasing in number, leaving social workers, courts and hospitals overwhelmed. According to Robin Reese, executive director of Lucas County Children Services, “If something doesn’t happen with this addiction crisis, we can lose a generation of kids … The child-protection system is being inundated.”

Read the full Wall Street Journal article here.