The Impact of Opioids on Children

The Impact of Opioids on Children 1024 575 Abbie Miller
A black-and-white image of an adolescent White boy, a young Black girl, an adolescent White girl, a Black teen boy, and a young White mom and her infant, all in a row across the screen, all in white shirts, and all with solemn expressions.

The faces above represent the young lives affected by the opioid crisis.

Children who are losing their parents to addiction and overdoses. Children who live in instability and uncertainty. Children who spend their earliest weeks in withdrawal. And children who are at risk of developing their own addictions.

Here in Columbus, Ohio, we’ve had a front row seat to the opioid crisis. In the book Dreamland, Sam Quinones describes the day one physician from Nationwide Children’s, after 20 years of treating young people with addiction, treated his first case of teenage heroin addiction. He became one of the first to sound the alarm and develop treatment plans tailored to teens and young adults with opioid addiction.

At a time when the opioid crisis was just beginning to get attention in the media, our neonatologists were developing protocols and collaborative quality improvement projects to treat the babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome who were flooding the neonatal intensive care units.

In this special section of Pediatrics Nationwide, we have collected stories, ideas and opinions from leading physicians and researchers at one of the largest pediatric health systems in the United States. They represent many others who are shifting research priorities, getting creative with clinical care and collaborating in new ways to bring hope and help to the children directly impacted by the opioid crisis.

Thanks for reading. I hope you will join the conversation on Twitter @NCHforDocs.

These stories also appeared in the special expanded Fall/Winter 2018 print issue, “The Impact of Opioids.” Download a PDF of the print issue.

About the author

Abbie (Roth) Miller, MWC, is a passionate communicator of science. As the manager, medical and science content, at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, she shares stories about innovative research and discovery with audiences ranging from parents to preeminent researchers and leaders. Before coming to Nationwide Children’s, Abbie used her communication skills to engage audiences with a wide variety of science topics. She is a Medical Writer Certified®, credentialed by the American Medical Writers Association.