April 22, 2020
Today the Utah Attorney General’s Office recognizes and is committed to bringing awareness to the forgotten victims of the opioid epidemic during National Drug Endangered Children Awareness Day. According to the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, 9.2 million children in the United States live in homes where a parent or other adult uses illicit drugs. In these environments, children are at risk of suffering physical, sexual, and emotional abuse which can have detrimental effects that extend into their adulthood.
Additionally, children found in environments where drugs are involved are often neglected, and in many instances test positive for drugs. These children suffer from toxic stress and in turn may use addictive substances to self-medicate their fear, anxiety, depression, and trauma. Without anyone to turn to for support or treatment, these children often continue the cycle of addiction.
Fortunately, addiction is treatable, and the cycle can ultimately be broken through connection, support, and stability. This takes the effort of positive adult role models in a child’s life and a stable environment in which to heal. Mentors outside of a family can help parents and children alike. Treatment programs and organizations that provide training on helping drug endangered children are instrumental auxiliaries through which these children can be rescued and ultimately find healing.
The National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, provides a variety of training targeting this issue. Download an informational slideshow here, and view the training and resources they offer here. For more information specific to Utah, visit the Utah Alliance for Drug Endangered Children here.