More Than 20 Organizations Have Partnered to Reduce the Impact of Opioid Use on Children and Families

More Than 20 Organizations Have Partnered to Reduce the Impact of Opioid Use on Children and Families

Thanks to funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, Georgia’s metro-Atlanta area organizations and leaders have come together as the Coalition for the Georgia Child Victims of the Opioid Epidemic. Through this public/private partnership of 20 organizations and individuals, the coalition works to establish a community-driven, comprehensive and multidisciplinary response to children and youth who are crime victims as a result of the opioid crisis.

The opioid epidemic has taken a devastating toll on children. Approximately eight million children under the age of 18 are living with at least one adult who has a Substance Use Disorder (SUD). Most of these children affected are under the age of five. Opioid misuse can have negative effects on both the user and on that person’s entire family system. These effects can have long-term impact for the children, parents and caregivers and it is essential that the health and well-being of children are a primary focus in addressing the opioid epidemic.

Creating change in a cross-system can be a long and difficult process. Working within the coalition it combines the powers, skills and knowledge of a diverse number of organizations to making lasting and significant change. The need to assure that the coalition has the right individuals necessary to complete a new strategy there is a focus on member recruitment. The question is often asked, “Who is not at the table that might help us enact this strategy or idea?” Members are asked to investigate their networks to make the best connection for the coalition. Having a diverse and regularly involved group of individuals creates opportunities for networking, promotion and collaboration that is known to have the biggest impact for those involved.

Our Coalition Task: There are vast gaps in the literature and in local data surrounding the needs and circumstances of families impacted by Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). Few municipalities have tackled this program head-on to improve care for children impacted by OUD. As the Coalition for Georgia Child Vicitms of the Opioid Epidemic, we may be able to fill in the gaps in knowledge and resources to inform best practices nationally and improve outcomes for children impacted by opioid misuse in Georgia.

Goals Achieved and In Process
• Completed Needs Assessment identifying the available resources for minor victims (0-17) of the opioid crisis
• Developed web resource page for families impacted by substance use to access
• Grew resources to the webpage by 225% in a year
• Ongoing gathering, evaluating and sharing of data amongst stakeholders to drive decisions around substance misuse victims
• Advocate and provide awareness of the impact of substance misuse among caregivers and their children
• Implemented additional training to child serving agencies
• Utilizes a cross-system collaboration

Please contact Emily Thompson at [email protected]  to learn more about the Coalition for the Georgia Child Victims of the Opioid Epidemic and how you can play a role in changing the experience of children exposed to substance misuse.

Emily Thompson, MS is CHRIS 180’s Vice President of Community Programs and is a frequent contributor to the CHRIS 180 blog.

Emily Thompson
[email protected]
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