SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- Washington State's attorney general said Wednesday that nearly half of child dependency cases handled by his office were linked to opioid abuse.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson said that his office had handled about 6,800 child dependency cases and nearly 1,100 termination cases according to a survey conducted three months ago.
Citing the survey taken in July, Ferguson said opioid abuse impacted 47.9 percent of child dependency cases handled by 76 assistant attorneys general from around the state, including Seattle and Spokane.
The dependency cases involved children who were abandoned, abused or severely neglected by their guardian, or have no parents or guardian capable of adequately caring for the child.
The attorneys also said 39.9 percent of cases involving parental rights termination were the result of opioid abuse.
"Each year, thousands of children in Washington state are victims of abuse, severe neglect or abandonment and are placed in the care of the state by the courts," Ferguson said.
"This survey confirms what we long suspected: Opioids have a devastating impact on Washington families," he added, warning that "future generations of Washingtonians are at stake."
Data of a federal study shows that opioid-overdose deaths cost more than 34 billion U.S. dollars in Washington between 2012 and 2016.