Too many substance abusers make the mistake of thinking that their actions are not hurting anyone else, but this could not be further from the truth. This is particularly the case when children are involved. A parent’s abuse of drugs and alcohol can have a profound and lasting effect on the lives of his or her children.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that 21.5 million people over the age of 12 have a substance use disorder and more than 2.5 million Americans have fallen prey to this country’s opioid crisis. Drug abuse and addiction can have devastating consequences for both the addict and loved ones. Unfortunately, when you do not get the help you need to overcome a drug abuse issue, your children will continue to suffer as well.
The Opioid Crisis and Its Impact on Families
The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACEs) tracks the impact of traumatic and stressful experiences on children’s later development. One of the indicators of both physical and emotional abuse is drug addiction. Here are some figures related to this nation’s opioid crisis.
- Among women who struggle with opiate addiction, 86 percent have unintended pregnancies compared to 56 percent of all pregnancies.
- By 2012, there was an infant born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) every 25 minutes in the U.S.
- Opioid poisonings among toddlers and children up to 4 years old have increased 205 percent between 1997 and 2012.
Putting a Child’s Health and Safety at Risk
As a parent, you may say that your children’s welfare comes first, but this pledge often takes a backseat to drug abuse. Unfortunately, the pull of opioids is simply too strong and addicted parents do things that they never dreamed possible, putting the health and safety of the children at risk.
Infants of mothers who used drugs during pregnancy are more likely to experience behavioral, cognitive, and physical problems. NAS is a common post-birth withdrawal syndrome that is characterized by rapid breathing, excessive crying, tremors, and poor feeding. Substance abuse can also lead to poor decision-making and ineffective parenting.
Negative Emotional Impact of Drug Abuse
When a parent is addicted to opioids, the home can become a chaotic and confusing place. Children may not understand where boundaries are and discipline may be either inconsistent or disappear altogether. In some cases, the home becomes a negative and harmful environment for children, which can cause a child to act out at school or in the community. There is a good chance that a substance abuse issue could lead to involvement from child welfare services or even result in children being removed from the home.
Overcoming Drug Abuse with a Qualified Treatment Program
If you are dealing with a substance abuse problem, it is more than likely that everyone under your roof is suffering. The good news is that help is available through a comprehensive drug treatment program that will help you overcome addiction. The Recovery Village offers personalized addiction treatment that combines medical care with therapy and wellness programs. Contact one of our addiction specialists now to learn about admissions and see how you can begin a new life that will benefit you and your children.