State Strategies to Meet the Needs of Young Children and Families Affected by the Opioid Crisis

National Academy for State Health Policy, September 2018

The opioid epidemic continues to have devastating consequences for children and families across the country, with growing social and financial implications for states. The estimated cost of the epidemic nationwide in 2016 alone was $95.8 billion, and its estimated cost between 2001 and 2017 exceeded $1 trillion from lost productivity and increased spending on health care, social services, education, and criminal justice.There has also been a dramatic increase in neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), which is costly to treat and poses long-term threats to a child’s health.

As states develop and implement strategies to combat the current epidemic of opioid use disorder (OUD), many are focusing on whole-family prevention and treatment approaches. Evidence shows that providing parents with supports that help them care for their families and provide children with services and supports for their developmental, behavioral, and social-emotional needs can help mitigate the long-term impacts of OUD. The fed-eral government is also making significant investments in a variety of programs, including Medicaid, behavioral health, public health, child welfare, and criminal justice to help states address the opioid epidemic and meet the needs of young children.

In the spring of 2018, the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP), in partnership with the Alliance for Early Success, interviewed Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Virginia officials representing state Medicaid, child welfare, and behavioral health programs to discuss how their child-serving agencies are responding to the opioid epidemic. This resulting report explores:

– These states’ strategies to support young children and families impacted by OUD;
– Available state and federal funding sources for these initiatives; and
– Key considerations for states working to improve services and outcomes for this vulnerable population.

The Hope & Recovery
Support Line

In the event of an opioid overdose, call to connect with a licensed counselor, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also talk to your doctor about medication-assisted treatment.

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