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Researchers evaluate the impact of opioid crisis in classrooms
Jun 10 2019

Researchers evaluate the impact of opioid crisis in classrooms

Addiction Drug Addiction Substance Abuse

It is a natural phenomenon that when family members struggle with substance use disorders (SUD), the children carry the burden. They often bring experiences of trauma, neglect, and mental health issues into the classrooms making the classroom environment somewhat challenging for the teachers. Considering this, researchers at the West Virginia University (WVU) decided to carry out an evaluation to gauge the impact of the ongoing opioid crisis in classrooms across the state.

Three researchers, Sara Anderson, Jessica Trolio, and Frankie Tack from the WVU College of Education and Human Services, surveyed approximately 2,205 teachers across 49 counties. Calling the study a first of its kind, assistant professor in the Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development WVU, Sara Anderson stated that the major part of this study was based on developmental and family theories. Anderson and Trolio were experts in child development and family systems and Tack was an addiction expert. The study combined the expertise of all the three scholars to assess, validate, and add meaningful dimensions to the findings.

Tertiary impact observed in classrooms

The study findings revealed that 70 percent teachers from the West Virginia region felt that there was an increase in the number of students impacted due to substance abuse prevalent in their families. However, only 10 percent teachers shared that they were confident of extending support to the students whose parents or caregivers abused substances. The majority of the participant teachers shared that they felt skeptical, emotional distress, and a dearth of personal achievements when it came to changing the environment and dynamics of the classroom caused by the ongoing opioid crisis in the state.

According to Tack, a clinical assistant professor at the Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling and Counseling Psychology, the researchers had not expected to see an impact of this proportion in the classrooms. Trolio said that the impact of the opioid crisis on students was not limited to the students directly impacted by SUD in their respective families. Other students saw unruly behaviors in the classroom, which they were usually not accustomed to. This was known as the “tertiary effect of higher classroom stress associated with the opioid epidemic.”

Researchers’ recommendations

The objective of this study was to utilize the study findings to design and create a pilot training module for teachers that focused on the impact of tertiary substance abuse in the classroom. On the basis of the best practices followed in child development and family studies, addiction and educational studies, the researchers recommended that the teachers in West Virginia were provided additional training and support so that they would be able to restrict the impact. The researchers presented the findings of their study to the West Virginia Board of Education with a hope that a relevant training program would be implemented across the state.

The researchers strongly felt that the teachers across the state were in need of support to help them deal with the tertiary effects of substance abuse on students in the classroom and thus they carried out this particular study. They received a small grant funding from the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute and Dr. Kim Horn to carry out this study.

Opioid addiction treatment at ADEONA Healthcare

The United States is currently dealing with one of the worst ever drug crisis in the form of the opioid epidemic. The scourge is posing a severe threat to public health and has become a burden to the national economy. To overcome this bleak situation, it is important that there is improved access to opioid treatment programs. An effective opioid recovery program depends on multiple factors such as the type of opioid abused, the duration of abuse, the source of the dose, and the time elapsed since the last dose.

Known as one of the best drug and alcohol rehab for teens in California, ADEONA Healthcare of Rancho San Diego provides customized, research-backed treatment interventions in a safe and secure environment. If you know a teenager suffering from the tertiary impact of opioid addiction or displaying signs of opioid addiction themselves, reach out to ADEONA Healthcare. Our state-of-the-art rehab centers for teens offers holistic recovery programs customized to suit each teens’ unique requirements. Call the 24/7 teen drug abuse treatment helpline (888) 379-9360 or chat online with our admission counselor for further assistance.