The opioid epidemic has become so severe it’s considered a national public health emergency. Addiction to prescription painkillers, such as oxycodone and morphine, has contributed to a dramatic rise in overdose deaths and health care costs. What many don’t realize, it’s also associated with an alarming number of children placed into foster care.
In a study published in this month’s issue of Health Affairs, researchers analyzed the association between the rate of opioid prescriptions in Florida and the number of children removed from their homes due to parental neglect.
“Through my experience as a foster parent, I’ve seen first-hand how the foster system has been overwhelmed by children removed from homes where the parents are opioid-dependent,” said lead author Troy Quast, PhD, of the University of South Florida College of Public Health. “My goal in this study was to gain insight into the factors behind this surge.”