Foster Care Rates Rise with Married Couples Addiction Rate


Drug abuse is becoming increasingly common, especially in the rural areas of Oregon. Not only have the numbers of overdoses, hospitalizations, and drug arrest skyrocketed but also the impact of the opioid epidemic can be witnessed on the foster care system in the region. The number of children being committed to foster care has been on the rise and so have the rates of availing foster care services in Oregon.


The statistics


As per the statistics reported by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, every once in half an hour, a drug addicted married couple in the US gives birth to a baby. The babies born off suboxone heroin addiction typically experience a period of painful withdrawal symptoms due to which they are committed to the hospital for several days after the delivery.


Also, studies indicate that the number of young children that are taken into the custody of child welfare systems across the country has drastically increased within the last couple of years. For instance, as reported by the Department of Human Services, a whopping 398% rise in the aforementioned figure has been recorded in Douglas County alone in the last five years starting 2013. While the rates for foster care services have dropped considerably in the other parts of the state, the areas in southern Oregon including Klamath, Lake, Jackson, Josephine, and Douglas counties have increased rapidly over the last few years.


The increasing use of drugs in Oregon not only poses added risks for the community but also puts a great deal of load on the law enforcement teams and suboxone heroin addiction substance abuse treatment services in the region.


Impact on the young lives


Given the fact that these babies are cut off from their mother’s system after birth and consequently their exposure to the drug is eliminated, they experience prolonged periods of discomfort and pain which is typically amplified given their younger systems. While there is no proper conclusion that might indicate the impact of being born off addicted parents on the baby’s physical development, there have been extensive studies to suggest a greater risk of neurological dysfunction in them.


Also, children born in the custody of couples that have some kind of drug addiction are typically known to experience a lot of neglect and even physical or psychological abuse at the hands of their parents. While neglect is a common feature among suboxone heroin addicted couples, in some of the cases, the children are also subjected to excessive anger or domestic violence of some level.


In addition to that, children of addicted parents have a considerably greater and easier access to the said drugs. There have been several such cases where the young children of addicted parents began to consume the drug themselves at a tender age.


What can be done?


Although there is no easy way out of this, the problem of the increasing rates of foster care services in the area command immediate attention. There are a few things, however, that can be done to significantly curb the addiction rates. As the Family Development Center, Roseburg director Charlene Stutes remarks, it is absolutely critical to ensure sufficient employment opportunities with sustainable wages for the residents in the region. Also, these should be adequate transportation and safe housing facilities to ensure a healthy living environment for the locals. There are several non-profit drug treatment services in the region that are getting more government funding in the wake of the current addiction scenario. With the additional financial support, these organizations are now able to provide better medical and rehab facilities for the patients.