LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Recent statistics show child abuse cases are growing across Kentuckiana, and experts say it's connected to the drug epidemic and people parenting under the influence.

Larissa Reese, Vice President of Development Family & Children's Place, said the increase in cases on both sides of the river is alarming.

"There has been a 55 percent increase in child abuse in the state of Kentucky and approximately a 90 percent increase in child abuse in Indiana," she said.

Reese said the increase is linked to another growing problem: the opioid epidemic. And in the last five years, the issue has gotten deadly, with 334 children having died or nearly died due to child abuse.

Family & Children's place is working to change the trend and save lives.

"We're trying to connect with moms when they are pregnant to provide supportive education," Reese said.

The Morton Center in Louisville is also in the fight, providing counseling and therapy for family members of people fighting drug addiction.

"It is a family disease," said Priscilla McIntosh, President and CEO of The Morton Center. "Being able to have a full circle of support for everyone that is involved is what the Morton Center is here to do."

If you witness or know of a case of child abuse, you are required by law to report it to authorities. 

In Kentucky, 1-800-752-6200

In Indiana, 1-800-800-5556

You can also find information directory from Family & Children's Place and The Morton Center.

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