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Opiate Epidemic

The opiate epidemic has reached every corner of Ohio. State leaders have responded by expanding Medicaid, which makes treatment options available to more people struggling with addiction, as well as by limiting prescriptions and piloting evidence-based practices such as the Maternal Opiate Medical Support (MOMS) program.

Opiate Epidemic

Children of parents addicted to opiates are flooding into the state’s child protection system. They are the invisible victims of the epidemic. A recent survey by PCSAO found that half of children taken into custody in 2015 had parental drug use identified at the time of removal, and 28 percent of children removed that year had parents who used opioids, including prescription opiates, heroin and fentanyl. That means nearly a third of children in custody are there because of the epidemic, and that number doesn’t count many children who continue to be served in their homes or who are placed with kin.

The epidemic is largely responsible for an 11 percent increase in children in custody in just the past six years. But during that same period, state funding for child protection declined by 21 percent. The impact on the system has been devastating:

In response, with support from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Casey Family Programs, PCSAO has launched Ohio START.

PCSAO Resources

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