How the Opioid Crisis Continues to Affect Memphis Area Kids
Decades after the first hyper-addictive opioids entered the medical market, kids are still suffering from the results. In Shelby County, our attorneys have seen the devastation of Memphis child opioid addiction firsthand.
Here’s what you should know about how these drugs affect infants and kids, and what we can all do about it.
What the National Data Tells Us
According to the Children’s Defense Fund, adult opioid use is disastrous for children. As just a few examples:
- As of 2017, between 14 and 22 percent of women nationwide filled an opioid prescription while they were pregnant.
- In the last decade, on average, an infant was born with NAS (a disease caused by opioid use during pregnancy) every 25 minutes in the United States.
- Between 1997 and 2012, opioid poisonings in toddlers and preschoolers (1-4 years old) increased 205%.
So we know a ton of women were and are using opioids during pregnancy, which causes NAS.
NAS is essentially infant drug withdrawal. It comes with serious mental and physical harm. It can leave a child with developmental disabilities, which makes it a challenge to care for them even if you didn’t have an addiction.
Fast forward a few years to the present, and those children who were victims of the opioid crisis and survived now face much higher rates of foster care and abuse:
- Since 2012, after years of decline, the number of kids in foster care has risen steadily.
- By 2015, nearly 1/3 of the children who entered foster care were due at least in part to parental drug abuse. That’s almost a 50% increase over just ten years.
- And tragically, children in homes where parents struggle with addiction are more likely to experience neglect or abuse—not to mention the side affects of infant NAS, which can stay with you forever.
How Opioids Impact Children Differently
Opioids impact children differently than they do adults. Children’s brains and bodies are still developing, which can make them more vulnerable to the effects of opioids. So children who are exposed to opioids in the womb may experience developmental delays, cognitive impairments, and behavioral problems, including NAS.
Infant NAS is a serious disease impacting children who were exposed to opioids in the womb. Essentially, they experience drug withdrawal at the time their brains are most vulnerable.
NAS often requires weeks of hospitalization and years of recovery. Symptoms include:
- Ongoing, high-pitched crying
- Overactive reflexes
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Difficulty eating
- And more
These children may also be at an increased risk for addiction and other substance abuse disorders later in life.
How We Can Help
First of all, while we know NAS and other opioid-related problems in children can feel overwhelming, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans have been impacted by this health crisis. Remember, over the last decade, a child was born with NAS every 25 minutes. You are part of a big community of people who want justice for their children and grandchildren.
That said, your situation is also as unique as your child. You may be an adoptive parent, or you might be a family member trying to help a loved one. Every case is different, and you deserve justice on your own terms.
Our firm is representing infant victims of opioids who have suffered from NAS. And while that includes a lot of children, we’re actually taking each case individually.
With us, you’re not one in a million or just one in a class action suit. You’re an individual family, and you should be treated as an individual.
So we will investigate for you and build a case around your unique story, including the specific losses you and your precious child have experienced because of opioids. Our award-winning team will keep open communication with you and fight for you every step of the way.
We don’t get paid anything unless you do, so there’s no risk to come in and get started.
For your free consultation, just fill out the form below or call us at 901-327-2100. It would be our honor to talk with you and your family and answer any questions you might have.