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WVU researchers investigate the impact of statewide opioid crisis on teachers

Monongalia and Preston

MORGANTOWN W.Va. – West Virginia University researchers have investigated the impact of the statewide opioid crisis on teachers. 

They evaluated the impact of the opioid crisis in classrooms through a survey of more than 2,000 teachers in 49 counties.

In the survey, 70 percent of West Virginia teachers reported an increase in students impacted by substance abuse in the home, and 10 percent of them felt confident in knowing how to support children with parents or caregivers who abuse substances.

Most students between the ages of five and 18 are in a public school system.

“This is really just a first step to try to understand what some of their perceptions are,” said Sara Anderson, assistant professor of Learning Sciences and Human Development at WVU.  “Once we have this information, either program developers can develop different programs or intervention, school districts can be more knowledgeable in how they respond to teachers and, potentially, policy makers can use it to think about really important ways to support teachers and students, really, in the classroom,” Anderson continued.

In the survey, 35 percent of the teachers identified as suffering from high levels of burnout, which is related to the changing classroom dynamics created by the opioid crisis.

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