Children who live with addicts in the home often have a hard time talking about their experience, and well-meaning adults, including teachers, often don't know how to communicate with such kids in a sensitive and meaningful way, according to Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III.

To that end, Quinn is now recommending a new book called "A Sickness You Can't See" and helping to distribute the book to Bristol County elementary schools. The goal is to get the books into the hands of educators and young people who might benefit.

Author Laura Washington says children are often forgotten when it comes to addiction. Washington, who works in the addiction field, wrote the book based upon the experiences of her own family, according to a press release from the DA's office.

"Many times adults are unsure how to talk to the children about addiction and this book provides a way," the book's description states. "Children should not feel ashamed but rather empowered and this book is here to help."

Quinn said that with the opioid crisis, more and more children are having to deal with addiction in the home, and that there are not enough resources to help such children.

"Our office chose to get behind this book because of the glaring lack of resources available to children living with a loved one battling addiction," the release states. "The book helps adults broach the subject in a way that children can understand and relate to, and since the book is based on true stories, it will help children not feel isolated or alone."

The Bristol County Underage Substance Use Task Force talked about the problem during a recent meeting. That's when Quinn said he decided to use a small portion of the office’s drug forfeiture funds to purchase 200 copies of the book with the goal of getting it into every school district in the county.

Quinn is working with April Funches, his community affairs unit coordinator, and with Washington to reach out to school superintendents and principals.nThe DA's office will deliver or mail books to any elementary school that wants them and is willing to share them with students in need, he said.

“Unfortunately, we are living through an era marked by an increase in drug addiction," Quinn said. "The impact of living with an adult family member who is struggling through addiction cannot be understated."

The District Attorney's Office can be reached at (508) 997-0711.

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