The Ripple Effect: The Impact of the Opioid Epidemic on Children and Families

The United Hospital Fund, supported by the Millbank Memorial Fund, delivers a comprehensive look at the successive waves of loss and trauma experienced by newborns, young children, adolescents, and their families—including a blueprint for action aimed at public and private agencies and professionals.

  • “An individual’s substance use disorder (SUD) sends ripples through families and communities and ignoring these ripples can cause long-lasting consequences” pg 1


  • “The issues raised by opioids are a stark reminder of the many children and families who all too regularly face adversity from a wide range of sources, including poverty, violence, discrimination, and other social ills. Our call to action for children and families affected by opioids applies to all children in distress.” pg 7


  • “Helping these children and families is not a matter of possibility—it is a matter of priority. Once we all decide that responding to the ripple effect is a priority, we can build a bridge between what we know and what we can do.” pg 27


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    Side Effect Of Opioid Epidemic? Grandparents Raising Grandkids, “I mean, I love the children, I love them — but it’s really hard,” Campbell said. “At my age, I tell everybody all the time, I don’t remember being a mother being this hard.”

    Side Effect Of Opioid Epidemic? Grandparents Raising Grandkids
    51-year-old Anne Polston is raising her four grandkids. She and her husband gained custody because the parents had drug-related issues.
  • The impact on children and families is unfortunately growing quickly.  The good news, if there is such a thing is that new programs from Administration for Children and Families and Medicaid will be targeting this issue specifically - the impact of opioids/addiction on children in foster care.  We look forward to the Integrated Care for Kids program. 

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