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Adverse Childhood Experiences


What are Adverse Childhood Experiences?

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)  are traumatic experiences that occur during childhood and have a tremendous impact on future  lifelong health and opportunity. As the number of ACEs increases for a person, so does the risk of poor health outcomes and risk behaviors.


Types of ACEs:


  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Sexual


  • Physical
  • Emotional

Household Dysfunction

  • Mental Illness of a household member
  • Mother/Stepmother treated violently
  • Divorce
  • Substance abuse by a household member
  • Incarcerated household member


The presence of ACEs does not mean that a child will experience poor outcomes.
A child’s positive experiences and protective factors will help protect
our kids as they grow.

ACEs and Substance Abuse/Misuse:

Experiencing trauma can lead people to substance misuse as a way to deal with depression, anxiety and hopelessness. The CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)  study tells us that a person with 6 ACEs is 46 times more likely to develop a heroin-related substance use disorder than a person with no ACEs.  Locally, we are experiencing very high numbers of drug overdose deaths. In 2017, two residents died per day from a drug overdoses. In 2018, our emergency rooms were treating up to 13 patients a day for drug-related injuries.

Content source: National Center for Injury Prevention and ControlDivision of Violence Prevention

Cuyahoga County ACEs Project:

The Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) is working in partnership on a project to help address and prevent ACEs and substance misuse/abuse.

  • The Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board of Cuyahoga County is helping to build resilient kids in our community by training local law enforcement and school staff on the impacts of ACEs and creating awareness around how to support our local kids who are experiencing ACEs.
  • The Berea Police Department is helping identify kids in our community that could benefit from an assessment from their school counselor.
  • Ohio Guidestone is providing resiliency programming and mentoring to kids who are experiencing ACEs or showing symptoms of trauma.
  • Berea City School District is providing an assessment of ACEs and resiliency in students and providing opportunities for them to engage in supportive classes.


The Cuyahoga County Opiate Task Force (CCOTF) is a county coalition that was established in 2010. With CCBH serving as the lead agency, the CCOTF has developed surveillance, prevention and evaluation strategies supporting greater public awareness of the opioid epidemic. CCOTF now is comprised of over 250 concerned citizens and dedicated professionals from partner agencies specializing in drug treatment/recovery, education, health care, law enforcement, medicine, prevention, mental health services, and public health.

The task force holds open bi-monthly meetings at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health. 

Please see the Family Resource Guide for more information about resources available for families impacted by opioid addiction.

What’s my ACE score and what does it mean? 

For more information

CCBH ACEs Project:

Becky Karns, MPH

Data Analyst

216-201-2001 ext. 1607

Cuyahoga County Opiate Task Force:

April R. Vince MSSA, LSW

Program Manager, Drug Overdose Prevention

216-201-2001 ext. 1538


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