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An estimated 623,000 Americans with children younger than age 18 are addicted to opioids, according to a new study.
Less than a third of those parents are receiving treatment for their substance abuse, according to the paper published this week in the Annals of Family Medicine journal.
Numbers - Percent - US - Parents - Minors
The numbers amount to nearly 1 percent of U.S. parents of minors living with opioid use disorder.
The issue can lead to 'disastrous circumstances for children,' lead author and health economist Lisa Clemans-Cope told DailyMail.com.
Clemans-Cope - Researchers - Washington - Urban - Institute
Clemans-Cope and other researchers from the Washington D.C.-based Urban Institute used data from the 2015-2017 National Survey of Drug Use and Health – a national survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – to reach their findings.
The parents struggling with opioid addiction tended to be lower income, white and were more likely to be on Medicaid.
Researchers - Parents - Minors - Substance - Use
Researchers also found an additional 4.2 million parents of minors have other substance use issues, including alcoholism.
Mental illness, including suicidal ideation is often coupled with the addictions – with 20 percent of opioid-addicted parents reporting that they have had suicidal thoughts or actions in the past year, researchers wrote.
Substance - Use - Health - Disorders - Risk
'Parental substance use and mental health disorders are both major risk factors for children's development and their health,' Clemans-Cope said. 'They experience family dysfunction at a higher rate than other children, their parents are incarcerated at higher rates.'
'The children themselves have a higher rate of behavioral disorders and are at higher risk of substance use disorders themselves,' she added.
Time - Period - Percent - Episode - Form
During the same time period, nearly 25 percent said they had struggled with a major depressive episode or another form of mental illness.
Clemans-Cope said that some parents struggling with addiction may be afraid of losing their children if they seek help – but that treatment is critical for the well-being of the family in the long run.
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