The Impact of the Opioid Crisis on Delaware County’s Children
Children are the silent victims of an opioid crisis that is tearing families apart and helping fuel an 8 percent growth in the nationwide foster system since 2012, reversing earlier progress. In Indiana, substance abuse and other factors are ballooning the foster population by double-digit numbers, putting a significant strain on the court and child welfare systems.
CASA volunteers provide much needed relief to our overburdened court system while ensuring that a child affected by parental opioid abuse does not have to face the future alone. Our highly trained volunteers often have a caseload of one—one child or group of siblings—which allows them to devote the personal attention necessary to truly understand the circumstances and find the best solution possible for each child.
A recent nationwide survey of CASA programs puts the opioid crisis in perspective: 85 percent of all programs see opioid abuse as affecting the children and families they serve. In Delaware County that number is over 95%. And across programs that collect referral data during the first half of 2017 report that 64 percent of all the children they serve are impacted by parental opioid abuse.
CASA programs are critical in the fight against opioid abuse and provide a significant return-on-investment for Delaware County as we deal with this crisis. However, new volunteers are desperately needed. Currently we have almost 500 children in Delaware County waiting for a Court Appointed Special Advocate to walk beside them as they wait and hope their parents will overcome their addiction. If you aren’t able to volunteer, you can support us by donating money or telling others about the need.
What are Opioids?
According to the National Institute of Health, “opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others. These drugs are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain. Opioid pain relievers are generally safe when taken for a short time and as prescribed by a doctor, but because they produce euphoria in addition to pain relief, they can be misused (taken in a different way or in a larger quantity than prescribed, or taken without a doctor’s prescription). Regular use—even as prescribed by a doctor—can lead to dependence and, when misused, opioid pain relievers can lead to overdose incidents and deaths.”
What to do if someone you care about has an opioid problem? Star Press Article, October 8, 2017
State Website: Next Level Recovery
Opioid Crisis Looms Over Job Market, Worrying Employers And Economists – NPR , September 7, 2017
Indiana Reeling From Opioid Crisis, September 14, 2017
The Crisis We’re Currently Facing’: How Indiana Plans to Fight Opiate Scourge, Indy Star, May 18, 2017