Who Is Left Uncounted In The Opioid Epidemic? Children

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

lonely child

Troubling pictures and videos have gone viral in recent months with the stories of opioid-addicted parents dying and leaving behind their children. One set of photos showed a young boy strapped into his car seat, his parents overdosed and unconscious in the front seats. Stories of mothers dying during childbirth leaving addicted babies alone to face their withdrawals without them. A video of a young boy being confronted by tearful family members showed the confusion and pain of finding out his mother overdosed and died because of drugs. Recently, one tragic story surfaced of new parents overdosing and leaving their sweet baby uncared for, who then died shortly thereafter of starvation.

Influence from Addiction

Children who die or are abandoned makeup just one part of the population of those whose lives are being sadly influenced by their parents’ opioid addictions. Thousands more are left without family to care for them, forcing them to be registered with the cyclical foster care system, orphanages, or lost to the streets.


The opioid epidemic began to take flight around the year 2012. As The New York Times points out, at the same time, what had been a consistently declining number of children entering foster care began to rise. Between 2012 and 2015, the climax of the opioid epidemic, the number of children in foster care rose 8 percent nationally. “Officials cited parental substance abuse as a reason for removing children from families in 32.2 percent of cases in 2015, up from 28.5 percent in 2012,” the editorial cites. Unfortunately, most local officials use the category of “parental neglect” rather than specifically listing drug and alcohol abuse, the NYT notes.

Millions of children live with family, friends, or are in foster care. Early childhood development can be so easily influenced. Abandonment, neglect, death, loss, grief, and any abuse that might have occurred as the result of their parents’ addictions can have lifelong impact. Children are four to five times more likely to develop a substance abuse problem of their own or a mental illness if their parents’ had either. Surviving the traumatic loss of a parent can manifest in similar ways leading to developmental problems psychologically, which can cause problems in school.

It’s never too late to seek treatment for an opioid addiction. If you or a loved one feel you are at risk in your addiction, call Avalon By The Sea today. We provide detox and residential treatment, including family therapy programs and healing treatments. For more information, call 1 (888) 958-7511 today.

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