Drugs and alcohol have been used for medical and recreational purposes throughout history. With advancement of technology it has become easier and easier to access these substances. It is not only illegal drugs but prescription drugs that are being misused and wreaking havoc across the world. Even with billions of dollars being paid out to stop the war on drugs, the problem persists. People from all walks of life have been affected by drugs or are becoming drug addicts themselves. One particular group afflicted by the misuse of these substances is the children of drug addicted parents. According to Cattapan and Grimwade, “Drug use seen in one generation affects the lives of the next”. Children with one or both parents on drugs face huge disadvantages. They suffer from physical abuse, and emotional trauma with lifelong effects and their family unit is torn apart. Social institutions are being overloaded with the need to help or relocate these children.
Parent(s) should be able to provide a stable and loving environment for their children to grow up in, unfortunately, for drug addicted parents this feat seems impossible. Addicts must satisfy their own needs over anything else (Street, Whitlingum, Gibson, Cairns, and Ellis 2011). The high cost of drugs and their bizarre side effects cause rocky, unpredictable daily lives for the children of these addicts. Estimates show “…6 million children live with a parent who abuses alcohol or other drugs” (Taylor 2011). Children that reside with substance abusing parents enter into a perpetual cycle of physical abuse, neglect and emotional trauma. Numerous children raise themselves and/or their siblings because their parent(s) are either too drugged up to tend to their needs or are not home at all.
Often, it is too difficult for substance abusing parents to maintain a stable home life for their children; making the burden of caregiving fall upon the grandparent(s). It is estimated that 6.6 million minor age children are living in a grandparent-headed household (Strom 2011). Living with a grandparent now becomes a new obstacle for these children to overcome. The grandparents are faced with financial challenges and limited resources causing them to feel resentment towards their new role as “parent”. Children often go undisciplined not because of a lack of caring but from the huge age differences and energy level of the grandparent(s). The grandparent(s) seclusion from friends and social events can make many of them sink into depression causing further feelings of isolation by the child. Animosity among the grandparents other kids and grandchildren can cause further rife within the family unit.
Addicted parents spend a significant amount of time searching for drugs or alcohol and must spend time to obtain money to pay for their “fixes” whether by illegal or legal means. They have to have time to recover from hangovers or withdrawal symptoms. This constant cycle of obtaining, using and coming down from drugs...