The implications of the opioid epidemic on select elementary schools in crisis regions of the Northeast: A multiple case study investigation

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Southern New Hampshire University
In response to the growing opioid epidemic, this multiple case study investigation explored multiple schools in opioid crisis regions of the Northeast. Select elementary schools in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire partook in the study. There was a total of 76 participants ranging from district administrators, teachers, counselors, mental health providers, and consultants. Children exposed to parental drug-addictive behaviors or born addicted to opioids may have cognitive, social-emotional, and behavioral needs all teachers will be responsible for accommodating. Additionally, students in kindergarten through second-grade classrooms are experiencing adverse childhood experiences in their environments and community because of opioid exposure. Consequently, the adverse experiences are impacting the schools. In addition to the schools added responsibility to meet students’ basic unmet needs, student attendance is poor, student and parents’ inappropriate behaviors are increasing, and academic achievement is impacted. Teachers are experiencing vicarious trauma and stress. Evidence collected from this study suggests that there is a lack of organizational systems, preparation, consistency, and proactive plans to support the schools, administrators, teachers, and students impacted by the epidemic in the select elementary schools in crisis regions of the Northeast. (Author abstract)