By Reilly Capps
January 30, 2017

They are the smallest victims of America’s biggest drug crisis.

In a nondescript brick building in Aurora, Colo., a bunch of kids, ranging in age from age 7 to 12, regularly gather in a circle to talk about their families. They draw pictures of the bad things that happen in their houses: mom and dad yelling in the hallway, the police coming and taking their daddy away, how their parents make “art” out of tinfoil and then put lighters underneath.

“Some of them have even seen their grownups with needles in their arms,” says Sloan Solomon-Komadina, a Children’s Counselor at the Hazelden Betty Ford Center, who helps them through a problem much more sinister than what most kids have to face: a parent or close relative addicted to opioids.

“Often times, kids are hurt the most and helped the least, because grownups don’t see what’s going on with them,” says Solomon-Komadina. Especially those parents in throes of addiction.

When this happens, kids tend to suffer in silence. They withdraw. And so, parents don’t seek treatment for them, studies say, because the kids can seem fine. “And we know from research that that’s not true,” Solomon-Komadina says.

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