Handle With Care: The Drug Endangered Children’s Initiative

District Attorney Cruz is strongly committed to working with community partners and law enforcement agencies to assist children victims and witnesses of crime. The Childhood Trauma Initiative is focused on working with law enforcement, educators, youth serving agencies, hospitals, and other community partners to help children build the necessary resiliency skills for a healthy development.

The goals of the Childhood Trauma Initiative are to:

  • Educate law enforcement, criminal justice departments, educators, youth serving agencies, and other community partners on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how exposure to ACEs impairs the neurological, social, behavioral, and emotional development of youth
  • Facilitate collaboration and communication between law enforcement, school departments, and after school program in order to share information regarding children exposed to ACEs
  • Train law enforcement on trauma-sensitive police approaches to working with children who are victims/witnesses to crime
  • Train providers on creating trauma-sensitive schools and after-school programs
  • Train providers on targeted intervention programs for youth most at-risk for future delinquent behavior (addiction, violence, bullying, etc)

The Role of Childhood Trauma in the Opioid Crisis

Drugs are effective coping mechanisms for youth seeking relief from trauma caused by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

Research stemming from Dr. Vincent Felitti and the original ACEs Study shows that as ACEs increase, so does the risk youth have in misusing substances, such as intravenous drugs.  After youth experience trauma, coping devices, like alcohol, tobacco and opioids are effective means for short-term emotional healing, but lead to long-term risks like addiction.

Through the Educational Subcommittee of the Plymouth County Drug Abuse Task Force we are dedicated to helping children with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) build resiliency.  Children with ACEs are at a higher risk for future addiction compared to their peers.  We, as a community, need to pull together to help these children develop healthy coping skills to deal with the trauma they face. We hope that this video will be an additional tool that you can use.      https://traumasensitiveschools.org/why/