Rising Opioid Use A Factor In Child Maltreatment Deaths

Opioid abuse has spiked across the country in recent years. FRANKIELEON / FLICKR


The opioid epidemic is claiming another victim: young children who are neglected by their addicted parents. That’s according to the newest annual report on child fatalities in Washington state.

Between 2013 and 2016, opioid use was a factor in the maltreatment deaths of 33 children under the age of three in Washington.

The new child mortality report says nearly two-thirds of those deaths were related to unsafe sleep conditions.

But there was also a two-year-old who died from physical abuse at the hands of a caregiver experiencing withdrawal from Oxycodone. And a three-year-old who died after accidentally swallowing a combination of drugs.

To address this trend, the state’s Family and Children’s Ombudsman recommends expanding treatment services and a state program that pairs nurses with vulnerable first-time expectant mothers.

Overall in 2016, the Ombudsman reviewed 63 child fatality cases and 28 near fatalities.

Other major risk factors included mental health issues and a history of domestic violence.

Copyright 2017 Northwest News Network

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