Opioid Crisis Impacting Children of Rutherford and Cannon Counties

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Every 25 minutes a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal and 8.7 million children nationwide have a parent who suffers from a substance use disorder according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children's exposure to their parents drug use is impacting children across the nation. Here in Rutherford and Cannon Counties the number of drug exposed children is increasing annually.

The Women's World Summit Foundation is sponsoring the 8th annual 19 Days of Activism for the Prevention of Abuse and Violence Toward Children and Youth. This international event happens every year from November 1-19. For the 8th time, the Child Advocacy Center and local agencies that assist drug endangered children and child abuse victims are participating in the event.

According to Child Advocacy Center Community Education Coordinator Brittnie Noble, "The local theme of the 2018 19 Days of Action is the impact on children of their parent's use of opioids and other drugs. As millions of families struggle with substance abuse, children are left to pay the price."

The Child Advocacy Center is a non-profit agency that serves victims of child abuse, child sexual abuse, and drug endangered children. The Center works as a multi-disciplinary team with the Department of Children's Services, law enforcement, and the District Attorney's Office to respond to child abuse cases. The Drug Endangered Children program teaches families how to cope with addiction issues. Services include alcohol and drug education, relapse prevention, anger management, parenting and communication skills, and stress management.

Child Advocacy Center Drug Endangered Children Coordinator Tara Davis said, "Exposure to parent's drug use can have lifelong impacts on children. Children face social, emotional, physical, and mental health challenges that may last into adulthood. Without intervention children may experience to school failure, risky behaviors like substance abuse, and increased risk of health problems. That is where we come in at the Child Advocacy Center. Our Drug Endangered Children Program helps children whose parents have a drug problem. Services are provided in English and Spanish."

The 19 Days of Activism Campaign is a multi-issue coalition of diverse organizations and partners to help create public awareness and support at the local, national, and international level to educate the public about the plight of drug endangered children and their families.

During the 19 Days of Activism, the Child Advocacy Center has two goals. The first goal is that the 19 partner agencies will sponsor press releases to educate our community about child abuse, with a focus on the impact of opioids and substance abuse on children.

The Partner Agencies are:

• Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee
• Boys and Girls Club
• Child Advocacy Center
• Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
• Department of Children Services
• District Attorney's Office for the 16th Judicial District
• Domestic Violence Shelter
• Family Center
• Guidance Center
• La Vergne Police Department
• MTSU Child Development and Family Studies Program
• Murfreesboro City Schools
• Murfreesboro Police Department
• NorthStar Pain Management
• Nurses for Newborns
• Prevention Coalition For Success
• Primary Care and Hope Clinic
• Rutherford County Fire Department
• Rutherford County Sheriff's Office
• Smyrna Police Department
• Stones River Recovery

The second goal is the Child Advocacy Center will sponsor Darkness to Light trainings to educate parents, grandparents, and professionals on how to protect children from child sexual abuse and what to do if a child discloses abuse. Contact Brittnie Noble at the Child Advocacy Center to attend one of the Darkness to Light trainings or bring this child sexual abuse prevention training to your church, school, PTO, sports league, civic group, or business.

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addiction, crisis, drugs, opioid
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