PKSD Newsletter: Children Are the Hidden Casualties of America’s Opioid Addiction
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on August 7, 2020 in Firm News
America’s ongoing opioid addiction crisis continues, leaving millions of victims in its wake, but none so tragic as the number of children, who have suffered the consequences.
Read PKSD’s newsletter to learn about the ripple effect that has impacted millions of U.S. children in devastating ways. Who is to blame for this crisis? Is it the pharmaceutical companies who are making large profits from these drugs or the doctors and dentists who prescribe them?
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What is the Opioid Crisis?
A 2018 report revealed more than 168 million opioid prescriptions were filled across the country. Put into a simple perspective, that is enough addictive painkillers to provide for half of the population in the U.S. today.
Dr. Jonathan Chen, who is a physician and researcher at Stanford University Medical Center, told WLRN News, “We’re 5 percent of the world’s population, but we consume 80 percent of the world’s prescription opioids.”
If that number is not staggering enough, a 2019 study revealed that as many as 2.2 million children in America had a parent with an opioid use disorder (OUD) or suffered from OUD themselves. That trend, if it continues to climb, could impact as many as 4.3 million children by the year 2030.
Impact on Children
America’s abuse of opioid painkillers has had a profound and destructive impact, such as infants being born with an opioid addiction, children being abandoned by one or more addicted parents, or both.
Children Born With an Addiction
A baby born to a mother using opioids suffers from neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) – opioid withdrawal. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stated that 14 to 22 percent of women filled a prescription for opioid painkillers while pregnant. Since 1999, instances of NAS have quadrupled, and affected newborns are left with potentially life-long medical conditions, including:
- Developmental or learning disabilities
- Memory or focus delays
- Motor skill delays
- Intestinal issues
- Respiratory issues
- Difficulty eating or gaining weight
- Seizures and tremors
- Vision loss
Children Affected by Addicted Parents
If a child has a parent who abuses opioids, there are many ways that he or she may be affected. A child may be placed with other family members or put into foster care if a parent is incarcerated, enters a rehabilitation facility or overdoses.
Additionally, these 2.2 million children who have parents with an OUD:
- Are two times more likely to suffer from depression
- Have three times the risk of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol
- Are 30 percent more likely to be arrested
More than 75,000 children are placed in the foster care system each year, and 70 percent of those children have a parent with a substance abuse problem.
What is the Cost to Society?
These children are not the only ones to be impacted from the ongoing opioid addiction in America. Society also pays a whopping $117.5 billion for the ongoing care, special education and child welfare services. Reportedly, it costs an additional $62.5 billion for those suffering from an OUD during adulthood.
Who is Responsible and What Are We Doing to Fix the Problem?
Big pharmaceutical companies, like Purdue Pharma, are being blamed for false marketing of opioids, saying they were both safe and mostly addiction-free. However, both doctors and dentists also share responsibility.
To help educate doctors to be more discerning when prescribing opioids, the CDC issued guidelines in 2016, strongly urging doctors to minimize the use of opioids and avoid prescribing them altogether as much as possible. Unfortunately, a recent CDC study shows that many doctors are ignoring these federal guidelines and continuing to prescribe opioids. In fact. the number of prescriptions by both doctors and dentists has increased overall.
Many states at the city and county level are beginning to hold pharmaceutical companies financially responsible. Recently an Oklahoma judge ruled in favor of the state, requiring Johnson & Johnson to pay $465 million towards the treatment and prevention of people suffering from OUD.
Contact One of Our Trusted Attorneys for Legal Help Today
When you need answers to your legal questions, our Milwaukee personal injury lawyers are prepared to help. If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to another’s reckless or negligent acts, we welcome the opportunity to help.
PKSD Law provides a free consultation to determine whether you may have legal options for recovering compensation. There is no obligation to hire our services after this meeting. If we represent you, there is nothing to pay us unless we obtain compensation for you.
PKSD Law Group. Here when you need us. 877-877-2228