Family Structure and Adolescent Drug Use: An Exploration of Single-Parent Families PMC

A series of bad relationships, lost jobs and cross-country moves ensue. Finally, woman—a mother now—enters hospital-based 28-day treatment and traditional 12-step program. Far from being a conclusion, this publication is the first step in an ongoing joint effort to give visibility to children of parents who use drugs and a tool to foster cooperation and dialogue between governmental and non-governmental actors. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health is an annual survey sponsored by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration . The data used in this report are based on information obtained from 22,200 adults aged 18 or older with at least 1 related child aged 17 or younger residing in the household in the 2009 to 2014 NSDUHs. The Survey collects data by administering questionnaires to a representative sample of the population through face-to-face interviews at their place of residence.

Twenty percent obtained the drugs from the parents, and of these 6 percent even used heroin with them. The CDC reports underaged drinkers have more drinks per drinking occasion than their adult counterparts. At least 19% of individuals between 12 and 20 years old drink alcohol regularly; due to underreporting, the figure is most likely much higher. Teenagers deal with peer pressure in school and are also constantly bombarded with temptation. You can also call a dedicated drug or alcohol hotline, and the call is usually free. We can give trusted advice over the phone that is targeted to your particular situation.

Univariate Main Effects

Addiction affects not only the person with the substance use disorder, but everyone around them as well. Dr. Ashish Bhatt, MD discusses the pervasive nature of addiction, and what those closest to someone who is using can do to help. Addiction affects the family in many ways, including emotionally, financially, legally, and medically.

In those narratives, drug use and good parenting are mutually exclusive. Every year in my classroom of graduate counseling psychology students, no one is aware that “crack babies” are a myth. What often matters more is how healthily we parents and caregivers respond to our kids’ experimentation.

Running away from home makes a teen vulnerable to sexual, economic, and emotional exploitation. The editorial staff of is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers . Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance. needs to review the security of your connection before proceeding. If you or a loved one want more information on treatment, contact a treatment provider today to explore your options. Over 3 Million people have turned to BetterHelp for professional online therapy.

Sometimes, children of a parent who struggles with addiction may avoid making too many friends because they are embarrassed or concerned that other people will recognize that their parent has a problem. However, friends are vital to supporting a young person and also allowing them to grow up and develop. Most of the alcohol that teenagers consume is in a binge drinking situation.4 This can particularly place a young person at risk for motor vehicle accidents, risky sexual behaviors, and more. Parents who are addicted to drugs, or who are illegally manufacturing drugs, pose a significant risk to their toddlers.

When you’re struggling with a sense of shame, or with the fear of voicing your needs, make a list of your rights as a child or teen and repeat them to yourself. Say them out loud until you feel comfortable with them, until they become part of the way you think about yourself. Living with an addict can be extremely overwhelming, especially if that addict is a parent.

How to Talk to Kids About Addiction

Overall, about 7.5 million (10.5 percent) children aged 17 or younger lived in households with at least one parent who had an alcohol use disorder . Researching the impact of local communities across the nation has highlighted an essential need for community education programs that provide family members, children, and friends dealing with support for ongoing prescription abuse. Many schools and youth programs are realizing the significant impact drugs have on youth and adolescents.

  • Most children feel like they are to blame for their parent’s addiction.
  • They are also 3 times more likely to be neglected or physically and/or sexually abused.
  • All estimates in this report are annual averages from the combined 2009 to 2014 NSDUH data.
  • As a result, children can feel guilt and shame trying to keep the family’s “secrets.” And they often feel abandoned due to the emotional unavailability of their parents.

More than anything, you want to establish an open line of communication with your teen. To protect your child from the dangers of drug use, and to stop your son or daughter from using drugs, we recommend avoiding these ever-so-common mistakes. Verywell Family content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Fact checkers review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness.

As a result, they can become more mentally and emotionally unstable. Children may develop extreme guilt and self-blame for a parent’s substance abuse. They may develop eco sober house price feelings of unworthiness or develop dysfunctional attachments in their adulthood. In extreme cases, children can be removed from the home and placed in foster care.

In 2019, an estimated 24.5% of eighth-graders reported drinking alcohol at some point in their lives. Neonatal abstinence syndrome is a group of medical problems faced by newborns who were exposed to addictive drugs during their mother’s pregnancy. The baby becomes physically dependent on the drug at the same time as the mother. This is a highly important period of development for all human beings. Relatives may become more guarded if a relative abusing illicit substances act with aggression or hide their disorder in secrecy. The effects of illegal drugs, like cocaine, can be devastating on a fetus.

Growing Up Drug Free: A Parent’s Guide to Substance Use Prevention (

About 1 in 10 children (7.5 million) lived in households with at least one parent who had a past year alcohol use disorder. Few parents ever imagine that their child will grow up to do drugs, but drug usage among kids and teens is a stark reality. Drugs are everywhere — from big cities to small towns — and are used by people of all ages, races, and economic means. When a parent struggles with substance abuse, the time, effort, and energy, they may have otherwise spent on their child is often replaced by whatever substance they are abusing.

parent drugs

Plus, covering it up or pretending that it’s not a big deal doesn’t protect them from the pain that the addiction causes them. In fact, talking about the addiction openly and honestly can actually help them find healthier ways to cope with the trauma they’re experiencing. As a result, children can feel guilt and shame trying to keep the family’s “secrets.” And they often feel abandoned due to the emotional unavailability of their parents.

Veronica Cook, 41, grew up with both parents addicted to heroin. Her father began taking heroin at 12 or 13 after some older teens introduced him to the drug, while her mother became addicted at 25, a decade after she first began dating Cook’s father. She has also written a book about the experience called “Veronica, Hidden Harm”. Today, we write to share Stanford’s efforts to educate students about alcohol and drug issues, and we look forward to building a partnership in ensuring the health and safety of your student.

Sometimes, they’re scared of being taken away from the parent if the authorities find out. And sometimes, they’re suffering from the effects of the parent’s mood swings and violence. It all makes for tragic listening, but here are a few of your options. Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals.

Initial Medical Complications for the Newborn

The Joseph Palmer Knapp Library houses a large collection of material on state and local government, public administration, and management to support the School’s instructional and research programs and the educational mission of the Master of Public Administration program. Reference and research services are available to all residents of North Carolina, and additional assistance is available to state and local government personnel, both elected and appointed. A young person participating in activities like sports, extracurricular clubs, or volunteer work can all provide a safe and supportive outlet outside of their parents’ substance abuse.

  • The first step should be to confide in someone you trust, preferably someone who is in a position of authority.
  • They may be so deep in denial that they don’t realize how chaotic their children’s world has become.
  • Thomas G, Farrell M, Barnes G. The effects of single-mother families and nonresidential fathers on delinquency and substance abuse in Black and White adolescents.
  • Teenagers deal with peer pressure in school and are also constantly bombarded with temptation.
  • The pattern of results reinforced and extended earlier findings.
  • Before you approach your parent about their substance misuse, it’s important to go down this checklist to see how many of these signs apply to their behavior.

Such efforts should aim at the fulfillment of articles 2, 3, 6, 9 and 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child . I’ve sought help, and writing about my life has been really cathartic and helped me process what I’ve been through. I was too scared to do drugs for a long time because of what I’d seen with my parents, although they fed me marijuana from a young age until I was about 5 or 6.

Ways for a Child to Deal with the Stress of a Parent Who Abuses Drugs

Following addiction treatment, a parent must participate in some form of an addiction aftercare program. These programs help a person continually engage in their sobriety. Through these programs, many people find parents just like them who have struggled but are committed to overcoming their problems for their children and themselves.

A central focus of this study serves to highlight important differences among family structures, and single-parent families in particular. If you are interested in finding professional help for your teen, do not hesitate to contact Turnbridge. We are dedicated teen rehab center for young people battling addiction and other common, co-occurring mental health disorders. Every experience and therapy at Turnbridge is designed to engage teens in the recovery journey. Call us today to learn more, or explore our adolescent program online here.

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