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What about the children? How opioid use affects child well-being

Lindsey Rose Bullinger, Benjamin C. Ward – 2021

We study the relationship between opioid use and child well-being. We combine data on legal opioid prescriptions, opioid-related emergency department visits, and opioid-involved mortality with foster care entrance records and child maltreatment reports. We find that increases in opioid-related mortality and emergency department visits are associated with increased foster care entry, particularly among young children. We find no significant relationship between legal opioid distribution quantities and home removals. Finally, we examine the relationship between opioid-related public policies and child welfare outcomes, finding mixed relationships between various policies and removal from the home.