The Indiana Youth Institute recently released a brief on the Opioid Crisis: Indiana’s Hidden Victims.
In the midst of Indiana’s opioid crisis, youth are the hidden victims. Kids of all ages are impacted, both directly and indirectly. Parental and community opioid abuse often affects younger children, while older youth may also combat opioid addiction themselves. Indiana’s youngest children are affected by Indiana’s opioid epidemic before they are even born. Babies born to women who use opioids during pregnancy are at increased risk for poor fetal growth, preterm birth, congenital heart defects, and problems with brain and spinal development. Infants may also experience opioid withdrawal at birth, known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).
Hoosier children whose parents abuse opioids are more likely to experience abuse or neglect than other children. Research shows a clear connection between parents’ substance abuse and child maltreatment, and the impact of substance abuse is growing.
The brief goes on to give suggestions for steps individuals, organizations, and policymakers can take.