New Report: Trauma-Informed Approaches for Supporting Families with Opioid Misuse – Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group Logo

Connect & Follow Us

Go Back

New Report: Trauma-Informed Approaches for Supporting Families with Opioid Misuse

November 25, 2019

The opioid epidemic is one of the foremost health and social issues in the United States. As the country grapples with the best way to support and treat individuals who misuse opioids, it is critical that attention is also paid to the families affected by the opioid epidemic and particularly to the impact on children. The long-term health, social-emotional, and educational outcomes of these children are all influenced by the trauma of having a parent who misuses opioids.

Additionally, current punitive responses to opioid misuse, such as incarceration, forced separation, or termination of parental rights, can result in more trauma for children as they fail to acknowledge the multi-generational and community traumas that contribute to and are perpetuated by opioid misuse. These practices are largely ineffective in stopping current drug use and increase toxic stress in both adults and children, thus increasing the risk for future use.

This paper will provide an overview of trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), as well as how opioid misuse is both associated with past trauma in the home and community and correlated with increased risk of future poor health and social outcomes. It will also provide practical strategies to implement a trauma-informed response that fosters resilience and supports families impacted by opioid misuse.

Read the full report here.