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Over 600,000 US parents of children addicted to opioids

Around 623,000 US parents with children under the age of 18 are addicted to opioids, a new study found. Fewer than one-third of the parents are in a program to treat their drug abuse, according to the study, published in the Annals of Family Medicine journal this week. It means that almost 1% of parents with children in the US have an opioid use disorder.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Urban Institute in Washington, DC. The researchers used data from the 2015-2017 National Survey of Drug Use and Health, conducted by the federal government to reach their conclusions

The parents addicted to opioids were primarily white, lower-income individuals who were also more likely to be enrolled in Medicaid, which is a government health program for low-income and disabled people. Also, the researchers found that another 4.2 million parents with children below age 18 had other substance abuse problems, including addiction to alcohol. The researchers noted that mental illness often accompanied substance addictions, with 20% of the addicted parents reporting that they had attempted suicide or thought about it during the past year. Also, almost 25% said they suffered from an episode of major depression or another type of mental illness during that period.

Lisa Clemans-Cope, a health economist and the study’s lead author, said that parental mental health and substance abuse issues both have a major negative impact on their children’s health and on how they develop. Children living in this station show a higher incidence of negative behaviour and are at an increased risk of developing substance abuse issues, she added.

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