Dr. Goschi's Blog

Opioid Crisis and Children

The Opioid Crisis and Children

This month’s American Psychological Association’s journal “Monitor on Psychology” has an interesting article written by Lorna Collier on the population that is perhaps most profoundly affected by the opioid addiction in our country. Very often kids who grow up in families with one or both parents addicted to opioids often end up in foster homes. “Parental substance use was cited as a factor in about 32% of all foster placements, a rise of 10% from 2005” (Monitor on Psychology, January 2018).

Foster homes although sounding like a safe place for kids lead to further problems for children. These children often move through the system for years. Going from one home to another. The children in foster care may also be separated from their siblings. The “lucky” children stay in one home with foster parents who actually look after their interests and are willing to keep siblings together.

“Lucky” children from addicted households end up with families that grow to love them and eventually want to adopt the child(ren) if parents don’t recover. However, foster homes are not created equal. Some foster homes provide excellent care while others offer the bare minimum. I’ve heard and witnessed so many incidents with foster care children where they feel lost, abandoned and even abused setting them up for life long struggles.

How do we change this problem? Of course, we have to have better treatment for the opioid epidemic in our country. The article in “Monitor on Psychology” has some good ideas. They talk about how a child does far better when they stay with their parents even when those situations are highly dysfunctional. Instead, we should look for ways to provide the families counseling. Perhaps more active participation in the home through home visits and expecting parents to be engaged in active treatment. Children always do better when they stay with their family. Kids advance in life if they learn how to cope with the difficulties facing them at an early age through individual and family counseling. We should be providing them with empathy and warm, nurturing place to talk about their issues while teaching them how to self-advocate. Individual therapy can help these children grow into successful adults.

If you or a loved one is dealing with an opioid crisis please call Dr. Goschi for addictions counseling, individual counseling or family therapy at (312)595-1787. I’m here to help!

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