Today’s opioid crisis is shattering families—but the devastation of substance use disorders is by no means a new story. Think back to the heroin crisis of the 1970s, crack-cocaine in the 1980s, and methamphetamine in the early 2000s and again now. Unfortunately, a tragic aspect of any drug crisis is child maltreatment related to addiction.
When a baby is born, a window opens on a special time for mother and newborn. One of life’s most important bonds is formed over the following weeks and months. When it’s strong and healthy, that bond can produce results for a lifetime.
For too many people, substance use problems lead to involvement with the justice system. But when that happens, incarceration isn’t always the best answer. It’s costly to taxpayers and often provokes a cascade of collateral problems. Other approaches are needed.
They’re the folks we depend on when we’re ill: doctors, nurses, and other people working in the healthcare industry. As highly trained as they are, these professionals are still people, making them just as susceptible to substance use disorder as anyone else.
Dixon, Illinois is the kind of place that comes to mind when you think of middle America. It was President Ronald Reagan’s hometown, after all, and it still retains much of its old-time charm. This community of some 15,000 people is now the home of farms, small shops … and addiction. Addiction isn’t restricted to major cities. People in rural areas are just as susceptible as those in the Inner City. But there’s one big difference: people living in those rural areas face more barriers to getting treatment.