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How Addiction Crisis Impacts Indiana Families

Dr. Joseph Ryan presents at the meeting to highlight the opioid epidemic on families. (Jill Sheridan/IPB News)

Indiana has one of highest rates of children in foster care and much of the blame is placed on neglect related to substance use. The Center for Families at Purdue University hosted a meeting to frame what is working in other states and highlight policies.

In the past five years Indiana has experienced a surge in the number of children to enter the system.  In the same time, the number of cases where substance abuse was a factor has doubled. 

University of Michigan Professor of Social Work Dr. Joseph Ryan says either Indiana’s addiction problem has increased dramatically or there could be another answer.

"Our measurement and observation of these problems has increased and our awareness has increased and our measurement is just catching up," says Ryan. 

Ryan says many Indiana families struggle with the root causes of addiction. 

"It’s not like substance abuse is their only problem, these are families that have high rates of domestic violence, parental incarceration, employment problems, housing problems," says Ryan. 

Indiana Drug Czar Jim McClelland says he worries about youth in the system and their Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACE’s.

"We know what the long term economic, social and health effects of high ACE scores can be," says McClelland. 

These can include chronic disease, mental illness and domestic violence. 

Solutions highlighted from other states include wrap-around social services, recovery coaches and increased access to medication assisted treatment.

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