The devastation of the opioid epidemic is pervasive: lives lost, futures derailed, and communities shattered. While hitting the economically and socially disadvantaged particularly hard, America’s deadliest drug crisis has left no demographic group untouched. Despite a significant volume of news and research on the tragic toll of opioids, one aspect has gone relatively unnoticed: the impact on children and families.
A United Hospital Fund project is working to change that by shining a light on the epidemic’s long-lasting and destructive “ripple effects” on children and adolescents whose parents are addicted and on kinship caregivers who often end up caring for these young people. The report contains takeaways and lessons from a two-day meeting hosted by United Hospital Fund in October of 2018 during which a group of researchers, clinicians, and policymakers from across the country deliberated on how best to address this vital issue. IMPH provides a summary of the report including how the ripple effect is impacting several vulnerable populations and how communities can help children thrive while stabilizing and supporting their families.