Brundage SC, Fifield A, and Partridge L. November 2019. The Ripple Effect: National and State Estimates of the U.S. Opioid Epidemic’s Impact on Children. United Hospital Fund.

Kids are at risk of being short-changed, again.

Over the next two years, courts are expected to award billions of dollars in drug company settlements or legal judgments related to the opioid crisis. We have been here before. In the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement, large portions of the awards were intended for prevention and to address the harm done to children. In reality, of the $27 billion in settlement money that states will collect in FY2020, just $740 million — less than 3% — will go toward helping people quit and keeping kids from smoking.

In 2017, more than 2 million children were directly affected by the opioid crisis. More than half of them lived with at least one parent suffering opioid use disorder. Another quarter-million had a parent die from an overdose. In addition, the rates of children entering foster care have skyrocketed, mostly as a result of the epidemic.

First Focus on Children convened nearly 2 dozen experts, advocates, and professionals this month to discuss strategies to ensure that children receive their fair share of any settlement money. Over the next few weeks, the group will compile recommendations for State Attorneys General and other key players on where funds are most needed and how to best administer them.

Brundage SC and Levine C. March 2019. The Ripple Effect: The Impact of the Opioid Epidemic on Children and Families. United Hospital Fund and Milbank Memorial Fund.

Here are some of the reasons that children need drug money:

For more information on First Focus on Children’s opioids initiative, contact Averi Pakulis or Aubrey Edwards-Luce.