24 Feb A voice for the silent victims
Did you know that children are now seen as the silent victims of the opioid epidemic? CHRIS 180’s HERO Program (Helping Restore Children and Families Affected by the Opioid Epidemic), was created to provide direct services, psychoeducational training and a community coalition aimed at expanding awareness and advocacy for these silent victims. The program is funded by a grant awarded to CHRIS 180 by the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC). The funding comes from settlements between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and pharmaceutical companies around misleading claims related to potential harm from opioids. In particular, the dramatic increase in children going into foster care has been highly connected to the opioid epidemic.
Opioid misuse can cause high degrees of trauma in children connected to adults who misuse opioids and other substances. Children who are victims of this epidemic may lack basic necessities for survival, effective parenting, and models of appropriate coping skills. Through the HERO Program CHRIS 180 provides professional training to help identify and respond to the challenges faced by children affected opioid use in the family. The program gives direct therapy and parental support to help heal trauma and give children and families a better life. Referrals may be made by visiting our website. Our community coalition brings together professionals committed to helping children in the areas of education, counseling, public health, social services and more. In addition, the coalition works to maintain a resource list of services around Atlanta and the state which may be necessary and helpful for children and families affected by opioid or substance use disorders. Click here to view the resource list.
The impact of this program is felt directly by children and families. One CHRIS 180 client noted the program, “has blessed my family and continues to work on helping us heal through the trauma.” Though the work is difficult, hearing this feeds the hearts of those who work to help the children and families of Georgia. Our hope is to continue to build professional and community awareness of the silent victims of opioid and other substance use disorders. We are working to expand access to resources and connection to support services, build robust trainings for the community, and advance professional knowledge to develop resiliency in children and families in need. Awareness of the challenges faced by children and families affected by opioid and other substance use disorders is the first step to healing. We have added some information below to highlight these challenges and our commitment to providing support to children, families, and the community affected by opioid and other substance use disorders.
Chris Haider-Bardill, LPC,CPCS is the HERO Program Manager at CHRIS 180. He can be reached at Chris.Bardill@CHRIS180.org with any questions about this program.