The Impact of the Opioid Crisis on Children
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February 8, 2018
In this video provided by C-SPAN, RAND adjunct physician policy researcher Stephen W. Patrick gives testimony at a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the impact of the opioid epidemic on children and families.
Patrick answered questions about his experiences with babies, children, and families affected by opioid abuse and made suggestions for improvements on the local, state, and federal levels.
Stephen W. Patrick, Adjunct Physician Policy Researcher, RAND Corporation
About half of all U.S. states now have policies that criminalize substance use during pregnancy, consider it grounds for civil commitment, or consider it child abuse or neglect. But research suggests that punitive policies aren't beneficial for infants or their mothers.
State policies that impose punitive action against pregnant women who use illicit substances are associated with higher rates of infants being born with opioid withdrawal. This suggests that policymakers should instead focus on public health approaches that bolster prevention and expand access to treatment.