5 Ways Drug Abuse Endangers Children

Children under the age of 18 who are living with an adult who uses and abuses drugs are at risk for a variety of social, physical and emotional issues. A person who abuses drugs is likely not able to properly care for a child, but drug endangered children cannot advocate for themselves. Across the country, programs have been established in order to provide support and services for drug endangered children. It’s important for people to understand the various ways that drug abuse can endanger a child.

5 Ways Drug Abuse Endangers Children

      1. Drug abuse can make a child feel stressed and overwhelmed, because they cannot rely on their parent who is addicted to drugs and alcohol. According to the Florida Health Department and Children’s Medical Services, there are many emotional issues that stem from drug abuse in the home. These children often suffer from a low self-esteem, and may feel unloved by their parents. In many cases, children assume that their parents love their drug of choice more than them, because the drug takes over as the priority. Drug endangered children have a difficult time trusting others, and often carry an undeserved sense of guilt with them throughout their lives.
      2. Children whose home environment is infected with drug abuse may suffer from a variety of behavioral issues. Given the fact that the home life is less than stable, children may have a difficult time developing personal relationships with other people. They can have a decreased attention span, and may find it challenging to concentrate for long periods of time. Children who come from drug-infested environments are more likely to suffer from eating disorders, depression and anxiety.
      3. Drug abuse can impact a child’s cognitive development. Drug endangered children are at risk for developing speech and language delays, and may have a difficult time communicating with others. Visual motor skills are often undeveloped, and they may not be able to absorb incidental learning opportunities.
      4. It puts a child at risk for abuse — both physical and sexual. Parents who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol are not thinking clearly, and they may resort to physical abuse and sexual abuse while using. In addition, even if the actual parent does not abuse their child, they may be more likely to associate with other drug users who may be abusive.
      5. Drug abuse can have a negative impact on a child’s educational experience. These children often do not spend a significant amount of time at one educational institution, so they cannot benefit from the consistency of the classroom experience. Drug endangered children are at a higher risk of having learning disabilities, which can be compounded with poor attendance records. These children also may be disciplined more often in school because of their behavioral issues and cognitive delays, which can lead to an increased risk of expulsion, retention in grades and dropping out of school entirely.
According to the White House Task Force for Drug Endangered Children, between the years 2002 and 2007, about 30 percent of children in the United States lived in a home where at least one parent abused an illicit drug or was dependent on drugs and alcohol. Literally millions of children are effected by drug abuse each year, and it can be challenging to reach out to these children in order to get them the support that they need. If you know a drug endangered child, step up and become that young person’s advocate. Reach out to state departments and community organizations in order to get the resources you need to help that child overcome the challenges of drug abuse in their home.
Sources http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/dec-info http://www.floridahealth.gov/alternatesites/cms-kids/families/child_protection_safety/drug_endangered_children.html

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