1st Edition

Schools as a Lens for Understanding the Opioid Epidemic Impacts on Students and Educators in Crisis

By Kathryn A. Welby Copyright 2025
    192 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book investigates the profound and complex impact of the opioid epidemic on schools in the United States, focusing on diverse aspects such as its history, legislative responses, trends, and implications for students, educators, and schools.

    Sharing research from multiple case studies in elementary schools located in Northeast opioid-crisis regions, the book explores the ripple effects of students' adverse childhood experiences, community and household opioid exposure, transiency, homelessness, attendance, as well as the profound struggles of educators dealing with secondary trauma. Shedding light on the untold stories of young children contending with the consequences of opioid exposure, it foregrounds these voices and stories through the unique perspectives of educators. Additionally, the book examines the developing landscape of initiatives to mitigate the crises' effects on students, emphasizing the need for comprehensive approaches. Finally, the book explores potential interventions and strategies to address the complex issues arising from the opioid epidemic in schools, advocating for a comprehensive, multi-tiered approach involving collaboration among various stakeholders.

    Through a synthesis of historical context, multiple case studies, qualitative follow-up investigations, and analysis, this book provides a comprehensive understanding of the interconnected challenges posed by the overwhelming impact of the opioid epidemic on education in the United States. It will appeal to scholars, researchers, educational leaders, school administrators, teachers, and post-graduate students with interests in crises education, educational psychology, trauma studies, public health policy, sociology of education, and addiction and substance abuse.

    1. Introduction and Book Structure  Part 1: History, Participants, and Methodology  2. The Educational Impact of the Opioid Epidemic in the United States  3. Beyond the Crisis: Unraveling the Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Opioid Exposure on Education  4. Research Methodology: A Comprehensive Multiple-Case-Study Exploration of Elementary Schools in Opioid-Crisis Regions of the Northeast United States  5. From Opioid Crisis to Classroom: The School Districts and Participants  Part 2: Understanding the Research Through Educator's Perspectives  6. Educators Share Stories of Student’s Household and Environmental Opioid Exposures and Experiences  7. Navigating the Ripple Effects: Opioid Epidemic’s Impact on Student Transiency, Homelessness, and Attendance  8. Bearing the Unseen Burden: Educators Struggle Amidst the Opioid Crisis in Schools  9. Navigating the Challenges: School Preparedness and Special Education  10. Unveiling Layers of Support and Need of Schools Located in Opioid Crisis Regions  Part 3: Extended Research, Discussion, and Interventions  11. Schools in Opioid-Crisis Regions: Key Findings  12. Follow-Up Investigations: Post-Pandemic Realities in Schools Located in Opioid-Crisis Regions  13. Discussion of Theoretical Implications and Associated National Trends: Unraveling the Complex Web of Educational Challenges in Opioid-Crisis Regions  14. Conclusion and Further Exploration: Collaborative Interventions for Resilience and Systematic Change Designed for Schools in Opioid-Crisis Regions


    Kathryn A. Welby is Assistant Professor of Education in the Winston School of Education and Social Policy at Merrimack College, the United States.