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Health Aff (Millwood). 2018 Jan;37(1):134-139. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2017.1023.

Opioid Prescription Rates And Child Removals: Evidence From Florida.

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Troy Quast ( ) is an associate professor of health policy and management at the University of South Florida College of Public Health, in Tampa.
Eric A. Storch is a professor and McIngvale Presidential Endowed Chair of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston, Texas.
Svetlana Yampolskaya is a research associate professor at the University of South Florida College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, in Tampa.


A critical aspect of the opioid epidemic is its effect on the ability of opioid-dependent parents to care for their children. In this article we investigate the association between the rate of removals of children from their homes and the opioid prescription rate in Florida counties during 2012-15. We performed a panel data analysis of opioid prescriptions that also controlled for the prescription rates of benzodiazepines and stimulants and for other risk factors for child removal. We found that a one-standard-deviation increase in the opioid prescription rate was associated with a 32 percent increase in the removal rate for parental neglect. When we obtained subset samples by percentage of white residents, the estimated relationships were approximately twice as large in the counties with the highest concentration of whites than in the counties with the lowest. Policy makers should consider the opioid epidemic's effects on child welfare when determining the appropriate public health response.


Children’s Health; Pharmaceuticals

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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