How Can School Districts Respond to Opioid Impacted Students?
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The purpose of this study was to discover how school districts can respond to opioid impacted students. This research is relevant because the opioid crisis is now approaching its fourth decade within history and the issue continues to grow. The number of children impacted either in-utero or through family ties is ever present and is projected to see a future influx as the crisis reaches into every class, race, gender, and geographical context. This was an issue-focused design-based study that used action research protocol to propose a design specific to the learning context of the researcher. The context which prompted the inquiry of this study was based in Snohomish County, Washington, which contains a large proportion of the state opioid overdoses, children in foster care due to opioids, and infants born exposed. The themes guiding this study were: the background knowledge surrounding the rise of the epidemic, the effects that opioids have on children from infancy to middle childhood (developmentally, behaviorally, academically), and a closer examination of what is and is not working within school districts to accommodate opioid exposed children that may have a vast array of additional needs. Through an analysis of the dilemma and a review of the literature the researcher proposes that school districts require staff members to be trained on the opioid crisis and the effects on children. Additionally, a proposal is suggested for school districts to organize an intervention program for opioid impacted students that is designed in a similar fashion as other pull-out services. The desired outcomes are to have knowledgeable staff members, and a program that addresses impacted students’ well-being in the hopes of assisting them with their emotional, behavioral, and academic needs.