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Conference Led by Ohio Attorney General Discusses Opioid Crisis, Children

Attorney General Mike DeWine was the main speaker and leader at a conference held in Christ’s Church in Mason, Ohio on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. The conference was focused on the opioid epidemic in the state of Ohio and also specifically on the children who have become affected, hurt, and displaced by this crisis when taken away from their parents who were abusing opioid drugs.

The conference, called “Ideas for Our Future,” included an attendance of around 700 people. One in three of the members in the audience agreed that they had experienced some sort of trauma at a young age, which was what DeWine wanted to discuss. Currently, over 15,500 children are in the Ohio children service agencies’ custody, which is an increase of about 23 percent from 2016. DeWine states that part of this problem is associated with the opioid crisis and the increase in dangerous opioid abuse.

“For our state to succeed,” DeWine said, “we must do everything we can to support our most vulnerable citizens, our children.”

Foster Children and The Genetics of Addiction

There are, unfortunately, many children being placed into foster care all over the country as a result of opioid addiction and abuse in their parents. According to the White House, the number of children being born dependent on drugs increased over 500 percent from 2000 to 2014, and nearly a third of all removals of children from parents is occurring because of parental drug abuse. This is a serious problem.

Sadly, children who are being placed into foster care for this reason often have several strikes against them when it comes to their own danger of becoming addicted to drugs.

• The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that genetics do play a factor in whether or not addiction will occur in a person’s life.
• However, so does an individual’s environment, which could have been affected by growing up around parents who use often and to excess.
• What’s more, the experience of trauma—which can include anything from physical and sexual assault, to seeing a parent overdose, to simply being removed from a parent’s home and placed into foster care—can also be a risk factor for addiction.

Not only are children being displaced as a result of the substance abuse crisis in the United States and in Ohio specifically, but these young people are also experiencing increased risks for addiction themselves, which could merely perpetuate or worsen the drug abuse crisis.

Getting Help for Addiction

Fortunately, there is a way for anyone to get help for an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. No matter how severe your addiction has become, or even if you have just started using, you can seek help from detox and rehab centers that will allow you to safely be weaned off the drug and then learn to avoid relapse. There is no time like the present to seek help because the sooner you do, the easier it will be to recover.

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