We know a few things for certain: the opioid crisis has created an unprecedented number of problems for Americans. Statistics would suggest that there have been numerous instances of fatal overdose caused by the usage of the drug. But now there is now even a more important issue in hand. According to new recent findings: parents using opioids are more likely to experience family breakdowns.
It seems like the crisis is getting out of our hand, with an immediate response required to curb the situation. Opioid addiction and overdose cases literally tore apart families causing psychological issues for the members.
In fact, according to health experts, the problem may soon become the leading cause of family breakups in the US. How that is happening will be explained shortly. From the available empirical research, parents using opioids are more inclined towards sending their children to foster centers.
Why parents using opioids a problem for US families?
The study accounted for the number of kids who were taken to foster homes usually as a result of their parents using opioids. In the majority of the circumstances, the usage had resulted in a family breakdown due to a divorce or forced separation.
The findings revealed that the rate at which children are transferred to these homes is astounding. The increase that has been witnessed in the past few years has never been recorded in history before.
Accordingly, in 2017 alone, roughly 97000 children took shelter in foster homes all across the USA because of substance abuse by their parents. This was in comparison to 39,000 last recorded in 2000. Figures, having nearly tripled between the two-time spans.
While the aforementioned discussion talked about the official documented figures, there is actually a major issue: underreporting!
Scientists found that several kids who were abandoned at the center were officially admitted for some other reason. But on further analysis, it can reasonably infer that the decision was induced by opioid abuse. Additionally, there are plenty of other cases of abandonment where children were not even sent to foster homes until the authorities had to intervene.
All of that being said, the trend is seen to be rising year after year. Perhaps because the USA continues to grapple with the opioid crisis with no meaningful measures taken so far.
Lastly, children below the age of 5 were more likely to witness the family breakdowns and have themselves transferred to the foster center.
One of the prominent things about the study was that it considered the regional disparities. It accounted for the regions that were hit hardest by family breakdown caused by parents using opioid.
First and foremost, the data revealed that the crisis was hit hardest in states where marijuana is criminalized. Because cannabis acted as a viable medical alternative to opioid, the intensity of the problem was less severe. For example, Idaho and other midwestern states, where marijuana is illegal, had the largest number of foster home attendance.
The southernmost states like Georgia, Louisiana, and South Carolina were also among the most affected. Disparities tend to worsen the further you moved out of the urban districts. That is to say, children in rural areas were far more vulnerable to be sent for foster care given their parents using opioids had caused some sort of rift within the family