Researchers #looking at possible #connection between #child abuse and #opioid epidemic

DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) – Doctors at Dayton Children’s Hospital said an alarming number of kids are suffering traumatic head injuries from abuse.

According to hospital research, they’ve seen double the amount of cases then any other pediatric trauma hospital in the United States.

Researchers are looking to see if it’s a direct effect of the opioid epidemic.

Dr. Kelly Liker, medical director of child advocacy, said they can see numbers trending. That doesn’t mean they can say for sure one is causing the other, but she did add that the numbers are alarming.

“We’re trying to determine if there’s associations between the numbers of people coming into the ER or dying of overdoses in the amount of child abuse and neglect that exists in the community,” Dr. Liker said.

32 percent of all head trauma cases at Dayton Children’s have been reported from abuse, compared to 14 percent at the 73 other pediatric trauma centers around the country.

“If you’re a caregiver and you’re using a particular substance,” Dr. Liker said, “you’re coping skills are different, your ability to be alert and aware all the time is impacted and we know that plays out and child abuse and neglect.”

According to public health, overdose numbers and Montgomery County have been trending upward since 2012.

Dr. Liker said those numbers are concrete but there are social factors affecting a concrete answer on if overdoses affect childhood traumas.

“I think what we realize is that substance abuse and the caregiver is far more likely to result in child abuse or neglect in the home than in a home where a caregiver is not abusing substances,” Dr. Liker said, “That’s a concerning statistic.”