Broken Homes Linked to Opioid Crisis

Broken Homes

Kids from Broken Homes Are More Likely to Overdose

New research has found that broken homes are contributing to the opioid crisis as counties with high divorce rates and a large proportion of single-parent homes are plagued with drug overdose deaths.

As reported by The Trumpet, counties with high divorce rates and a large proportion of single-parent homes are plagued with drug overdose deaths, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine on April 2. The study mapped the 515,000 drug-related deaths that occurred across the United States from 2006 to 2015. It found that geography is less important in explaining overdose deaths than “family distress.”

The average drug mortality rate across the U.S. was 16.6 deaths per 100,000 people. But the study found that people living in counties suffering high levels of “family distress” were much more likely to die from a drug overdose than people living in other counties.

“Average mortality rates were significantly higher in counties with greater economic and family distress and in counties economically dependent on mining,” reported Jillian Morgan in a press release for Elsevier. “Counties at the highest level of family distress (divorce/separation and single-parent families) had an average of more than eight more drug-related deaths per 100,000 population than counties at the lowest level.”

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One of the primary reasons that drug overdose deaths are so common among those who come from a broken home is that depressed and lonely people often turn to drug-induced moments of fleeting euphoria. Heroin, opioids and other drugs can give a person a temporary high, masking the loneliness and pain their family problems cause. But these addictive drugs alter the brain structure until naturally pleasurable activities no longer elicit the same emotional response they once did. This drives a person even deeper into drug addiction.

Those addicted to drugs are less physically able to love their children, which often causes psychological problems likely to push the next generation into a cycle of drug addiction.

“Heroin numbs the parenting instinct and sets the tone for child neglect and abuse, which in turn increases the risk for addiction in the child,” Tamás Ungar wrote at the Federalist. “It’s a self-perpetuating cycle through the generations and hard to break.”

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To learn more about how family dysfunction has been linked with opioid abuse, please visit The Trumpet.

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