Over the past 20 years, the number of U.S. children who have faced a parent's death from drug overdose or firearms has increased at an alarming pace. These children are left to grapple with a loss that impacts how they thrive or don't thrive throughout their developmental years and into adulthood.

"Nearly 100,000 children lost parents to a drug overdose or gun violence in 2020 alone – almost three times more than in 1999," reports Deidre McPhillips of CNN. "Overall, more than 1 million children have lost a parent to a fatal drug overdose or gun violence over the past two decades, according to the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The increase in the number of parent-age deaths from drug overdose is staggering. McPhillips writes, "About 72,800 children lost a parent to a drug overdose in 2020, up 345% from the 16,000 children affected in 1999, according to the study."

The percentage increase in gun-related deaths is not as high as that for drug overdoses, but it's still startling. "There was a 39% increase in children who lost a parent to gun violence – from 18,000 in 1999 to 25,000 in 2020," McPhillips reports. By comparison, the number of children who lost parents due to other causes increased 24% between 1999 and 2020.

"Other research has shown that losing a parent can have negative effects on a child's health, education and livelihood – in both the short and long term," McPhillips adds.

Read the full article about children who have lost parents due to drug overdose or firearms by Heather Close at The Rural Blog.