Opiod crisis impacting Hoosier kids


INDIANAPOLIS - The latest KIDS COUNT Data Book for Indiana is out, and it shows the state has made some strides, but the Indiana Youth Institute says there's still a big problem that needs to be addressed.

The group's president, Tami Silverman, says the impact the opioid epidemic is having on Hoosier children is staggering.

One in 10 children in the state lives with someone that has a substance-use disorder, and she says over the past five years, Indiana has seen nearly a 60 percent increase in the number of children in foster care. Most of that is due to parent drug and/or alcohol abuse.

"What we're seeing is kids that are not getting proper nourishment, kids that aren't having access to health care and kids that aren't able to go to school," she states.

Indiana's infant-mortality rate is 41st in the nation, with babies being 24 percent more likely to die before their first birthday than infants nationally.

The problem is worse with African-American babies. They're more than twice as likely to die than white infants.

This is the 24th year for the KIDS COUNT Data Book. Silverman explains why keeping statistics on children's well-being is important.

"We want this data to be a starting point for community action and so, in order to really do that, we need to make sure we have a clear picture of what it is like for groups of different kids to live in our state," she states.

On a positive note, the data shows more children than ever have health insurance in Indiana, the teen pregnancy rate has gone down for the first time since 2009, and poverty numbers for children went down.

The report also found some good and bad news when it comes to Hoosier moms: Nearly 14 percent smoke while pregnant, but breastfeeding is on the rise.

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