Opioid Settlement Helping Kids Impacted By the Epidemic

Robbie has been crying for over an hour. But his screams are in vain. His mom is one of the 10.1 million Americans currently misusing opioids. She’s nodding on the couch now, oblivious to her child’s needs. The bruises on Robbie’s toddler-sized arms are a result of the previous night’s trauma. She ran out of drugs, which means she was sick. And Robbie just wouldn’t leave her alone – she couldn’t handle it. But she was able to get more drugs this morning, so now she can get some peace…

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The Opioid Settlement Can Bring Assistance

“Children are the invisible victims of the opioid epidemic,” admits Sallye Longshore, Director of the Alabama Department of Child Abuse Neglect and Prevention (ADCANP). “Not only does parental substance abuse often lead to the abuse and neglect of children, but abused and neglected children tend to grow up to be substance-dependent adults.”

It’s a cycle that’s all too common. Children raised by parents who have drug use disorders are three times more likely to suffer abuse and four times more likely to experience neglect. And they’re also more likely to witness an overdose of a family member, which leads to other mental and emotional trauma. And then, as they grow into adults, they are more likely to repeat these patterns with the next generation.   

Longshore reports, “Our goal at ADCANP is to break this cycle, and we have developed the evidence-based programs to do just that.”

Attorney General Sees the Need

“The Alabama Department of Child Abuse Neglect and Prevention is a small state agency with a critical mission—strengthening families,” said Steve Marshall, Alabama Attorney General. “I firmly believe that strong families are the answer to nearly every societal ill that our state is wrestling with, not the least of which is the opioid crisis.”

In line with nationwide statistics, the data for the state of Alabama suggests that a large number of the children who are in their foster care system are there because of parental substance abuse. These situations account for nearly 60% of removals from the home.

In an effort to turn this tide, Marshall’s office released a statement that $1.5 million will be given to ADCANP for investing in the reduction of “adverse childhood experiences driven by parental addiction to opioids.”

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Opioid Settlement Could Change Children’s Lives

The $1.5 million will be distributed from the $9 million total allotment the state is receiving from a multi-state settlement with McKinsey & Company.

The settlement is the first of its kind, offering substantial payout to multiple states. The world-renowned consulting firm McKinsey & Company is paying a total of $573 million for their role in helping opioid companies promote drugs and profiting from the opioid epidemic.

Of the $9 slotted for Alabama, the state will receive about $7.6 million this year. The Attorney General’s office reported that $2.9 million will go to the state’s forensic labs and another $1.5 million will go to the state’s specialty courts. Meanwhile, the state is gearing up for trial against Endo Pharmaceuticals and McKesson Corporation, and it’s going to battle for settlements from Purdue Pharma, Mallinckrodt, and Insys.

Meanwhile, the dollars going to ADCANP from the McKinsey settlement will help fund programs such as Home Visiting, Parent Education and Support, Respite care, Mentoring, and Community Awareness and Training. These programs offer essential services to reduce risk and prevent child abuse and neglect.

The hope is to provide funds that will make an impact on Alabama’s children and families. To support interventions that work. To create a better environment for the next generation that has seen far too much pain from this opioid crisis. To help little ones like Robbie – and his mom – find their way out of this epidemic.

If you or someone you love is experiencing a substance use disorder, help is available. Call 800-926-8143Who Answers? today to speak with a treatment specialist.

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