America is experiencing one of the most concerning epidemics in our history. Substance use disorders and related issues are reaching pandemic levels. To be exact, more than 60,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017, an-all time high. This represents a 50% increase since 2011, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. A grim reality of this crisis is that more children than ever have been placed into the foster care system. In 2015 alone, 428,000 kids were known to be in foster placement. Yet, that number does not include those placed with relatives or who are still in abusive or dysfunctional homes.
Of all these cases, about a third of children are removed for substance use disorder by parents and 18 percent of these kids are less than one year old. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, 1 in 4 children in the United States is exposed to alcohol abuse or dependence in the family. These children are amongst the hidden victims of the addiction epidemic and it is important that we educate and share the truths about this disease in hopes of breaking the generational cycle of addiction.
Indra Cidambi, M.D. believes there are six steps we can take when talking to children affected by the epidemic.
- Help Children Understand that Addiction Is a Disease.
- Remind Children that it’s Not Their Fault.
- Let Children Know They Are Not Alone.
- Teach Children to Problem Solve.
- Link Children to Supportive People and Support Groups.
- Help a Child Be a Child.
Providing children trapped in families dealing with addiction a chance to heal is one of the best gifts they can receive at that point in their lives. It can break the generational cycle of addiction and prevent these children from growing up and becoming addicted themselves. The above tips can help these children overcome their circumstances and eventually lead normal lives.
Read more about ways you can be help children affected by addiction.
New Directions for Women is committed to the healing of the entire family that has been profoundly affected by the disease of chemical dependency. We believe that it is imperative to provide children with the resources they need to heal from the trauma afflicted by addiction. We recognize the importance of treating chemical dependency as a family disease. In addition, we specialize in treating the children both living and not living with their mom throughout their treatment experience. During our children’s treatment experience, they will receive early intervention services and individual treatment services that address each child’s individualized needs. Children will receive counseling services that assist each youngster in building emotional strength and deepening their resilience. Visit our Treatment page for more information.
Need help attaining recovery from addiction? New Directions for Women has been serving women, children and their families for four decades. Call to help yourself or a loved one at 1-800-93-WOMEN or fill out the contact form on this page.