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Child custody and the nation's opioid epidemic

Children with parents who are battling an opioid addiction often find themselves in situations of neglect or abuse. State welfare workers and family court officials must determine whether to sever the parent's child custody rights. In California and other states, children are often the victims of the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Child welfare caseloads and foster care entries have increased with the number of children removed from homes because of drug abuse. Studies show that most children end up in the care of strangers because of the lack of social networks available to those most affected by drug abuse. It is reported that many who abuse drugs are uneducated, socially isolated and poor, but compassion for the parents cannot be at the expense of the children.

Lawmakers now must determine whether drug users are criminals or victims. Most Americans believe the government should focus on treatment and education instead of trying to reduce the drug trade. A small percentage still believes that the priority should be on prosecuting users, including the President, who would like to execute the convicted drug dealers. Many say this will not do much for those who are suffering from addiction.

Opioid abuse across the country is an epidemic that affects everyone. Its continued spread is creating a myriad of concerns related to child custody. Those in California who have concerns about children living with a parent or parents with addiction may be able to consult with an experienced attorney for an assessment of the children's situations and a determination of what legal actions could be pursued in the future best interest of the children.

Source: bloomberg.com, "Opioid Abuse Isn't 'Victimless.' What About the Kids?", Naomi Schaefer, March 30, 2018

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