The Most Vulnerable Victims Of The Opioid Epidemic: America’s Children
With a generation of parents taken by the opioid crisis, grandparents are left raising children and talks of the need for orphanages are re-emerging. Social workers say the scale of the trouble exceeds anything they saw during the crack-cocaine or methamphetamine crises of previous decades.
The Wall Street Journal:
The Children Of The Opioid Crisis
Widespread abuse of powerful opioids has pushed U.S. overdose death rates to all-time highs. It has also traumatized tens of thousands of children. The number of youngsters in foster care in many states has soared, overwhelming social workers and courts. Hospitals that once saw few opioid-addicted newborns are now treating dozens a year. And many of the children who remain in the care of addicted parents are growing up in mayhem. They watch their mothers and fathers overdose and die on the bathroom floor. They live without electricity, food or heat when their parents can’t pay the bills. They stop going to school, and learn to steal and forage to meet their basic needs. (Whalen, 12/15)
In other news on the epidemic —
Dr. Anna Lembke: Well-Meaning Doctors Have Driven The Opioid Epidemic
America's attitude toward pain has shifted radically over the past century. Psychiatrist Anna Lembke says that 100 years ago, the medical community thought that pain made patients stronger. "Doctors believed that pain was salutary," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "meaning that it had some physiologic benefit to the individual, and certainly some spiritual benefit." But as prescription painkillers became more available, patients became less willing to endure pain. (12/15)
The Associated Press:
Maryland’s Heroin And Opioid Crisis Reaches An All-Time High
In Maryland, heroin-related deaths tripled from 2011 to 2015, rising from 247 to 748, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The death rate from drug overdoses in the state is the fifth-worst in the country, and it’s only likely to get worse, experts say. (Lang, 12/15)
Orlando Sentinel/Tampa Bay Tribune:
Surgeon General's Report On US Substance Abuse Shows 'Treatment Gap'
Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health – released in November as the first such U.S. report to address substance use disorders and consequences related to alcohol and drug misuse – asserts an emphatic yes. In 2015, according to the report, more than 27 million people nationwide indicated current use of illicit drugs or misuse of prescription drugs, and 66 million-plus people (nearly one-fourth of the adult and adolescent population) reported binge drinking “in the past month" ...Related health-care treatments, meanwhile, haven’t nearly kept pace. (Candelaria, 12/15)