Posts Tagged ‘children’


More Than 9 Million Kids are Affected by a Parent’s Drug or Alcohol Abuse

May 22, 2009

Children Living with Substance Abusing Parents by AgeA recent SAMHSA report found that almost 12% of children in the United States live with a parent that either is dependent on or abuses drugs or alcohol. The finding comes from an analysis of results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2002 – 2007. Specifically, about 2.1 million children lived with a parent who was dependent on or abused illicit drugs, and almost 7.3 million children lived with a parent who was dependent on or abused alcohol.

According to the report, “Substance use disorders can have a profound influence on the lives of individuals and their families, particularly their children…These data highlight the potential breadth of needs for the whole family—from substance abuse treatment for the affected adults to prevention and supportive services for the children.”

Another recently released report from SAMHSA shows that new mothers seem to be rapidly resuming the use of alcohol, cigarettes or drugs right after giving birth. The report, which analyzed data from the same national surveys at the above-mentioned report, found non-pregnant women with children under 3 months old in the household had much higher rates of past month alcohol use than women in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy (6.2% vs. 31.9%). Similar results were found in binge alcohol use (1% vs. 10%), cigarette use (13.9% vs. 20.4%) and marijuana use (1.4% vs. 3.8%). The report also noted that while more women seem to be heeding warnings about using drugs and alcohol during pregnancy, especially during the 3rd trimester, the number of women who drink alcohol during pregnancy is still high. According to the report, “Effective interventions for women to further reduce substance use during pregnancy and to prevent postpartum resumption of use could improve the overall health and well-being of mothers and infants.”

These 2 recent reports clearly illustrate the need to address the effects a person’s substance use has on the people around her, especially children. Those that grow up with a parent or parents that abuse alcohol or drugs are profoundly affected throughout their lives. Addressing these effects are important for the well-being of the friends, family members and others around the addicted person. Crossroads for Women will be holding its last educational series of the year for friends and family members affected by addiction on June 2nd at its outpatient office in Portland, ME. The 4-week series will focus on the basics of addiction, the recovery process and how to be supportive of an addicted loved one while also taking care of you. Find out more about the educational series or services for friends and family members of addicted loved ones.

Read the full reports
Children Living with Substance-Dependent or Substance-Abusing Parents: 2002 – 2007
Substance Use among Women During Pregnancy and Following Childbirth

Technorati technorati tags: , , , , ,


Kids Response to Alcohol Odor Linked to Mom’s Emotions

June 25, 2008

A study coming out of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia connects kids reactions to alcohol odors to their mom’s emotions. Children of mothers who were considered to be “escape drinkers” were more likely to choose an unpleasant smell over the smell of beer than children of non-escape drinkers.

A mother was determined to be an “escape drinker” if she had at least 2 escape reasons – i.e., helps to relax, need when tense and nervous, helps to cheer up when in a bad mood, helps to forget worries, and helps to forget everything – for drinking. 35 women in the study were classified as “escape drinkers.” 145 children between the ages of 5 and 8 participated.

The children were presented with 7 pairs of odors, one always being beer, and were asked which odor they preferred. Children of the “escape drinkers” preferred the odor that was not beer, even when the other odor was as unpleasant as cigarette smoke or rotten eggs. Questionnaire results from the mothers also showed that “escape drinkers” drank more than non-escape drinkers, thus exposing their children to the smells of alcohol more often. The same mothers were shown to be more tense and more likely to worry and feel guilty about their drinking.

According to the study’s lead author Julie Mennella, PhD, a Monell biopsychologist, “Children’s responses to odors provide us with a window into their emotions…Even before their first taste, young children are learning about alcohol and about why their parents drink. They do this by seeing people drink and hearing them talk about it.”

The study appears in the journal Alcohol, 2008, 42, 249-260.

Read the press release from the Monell Chemical Senses Center: Kids connect alcohol odors with mom’s emotions

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,


Project Linus Blankets Keep Kids in Crossroads for Women’s CAMP Comfortable

May 13, 2008

Cayden and mom enjoy the Project Linus blanketLast year, Crossroads for Women teamed up with Project Linus to help the kids in the Children And Mothers Program (CAMP) feel a little more comfortable when staying with their moms in residential substance abuse treatment.

CAMP is the only program in Maine that provides on-site living arrangements and daycare to minor children of mothers in recovery from chemical dependency. Moms can bring up to 2 children, ages 6 weeks to 10, while they participate in Crossroads for Women’s residential rehabilitation or halfway house program.

One of the major barriers to women getting treatment for a drug or alcohol problem is not having reliable childcare. Having the ability to bring children with them to treatment helps immensely, and studies have shown that women stay in treatment longer when they have their kids with them. Of course, it’s not always easy for the children to move to a treatment facility for 2 – 6 months and be with other families they don’t know.

Project Linus‘ mission is to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.” Local Maine Project Linus “blanketeers” donate beautiful blankets with different themes and colors. The choice of blankets makes it easy for organizations like Crossroads for Women to personalize each blanket given to a child in CAMP. And that one blanket means a whole lot to a child.

Maine had a particularly long, cold and snowy winter this year. The special blanket that 4-year-old Cayden received, pictured with his mom, helped get him through. When asked what he thought of the blanket he received he responded, “Thank you so much for the blanket, it made me feel really special and it kept me warm all winter long.”

Technorati Tags: , , , ,


Jailed Women in California Choose Children, Treatment Over Teeth

April 25, 2008

Incarcerated women in California are being forced to choose between healthy teeth or seeing their children and having access to a substance abuse treatment or vocational program. To gain access to such programs, they must not have any pre-existing health problems. This is due to the fact that the 3 women’s institutions were left at the bottom of an implementation schedule designed to improve dental care in all state prisons over 3 years.

One bad tooth could prevent a woman jailed for a non-violent offense from entering specialized programs for drug rehabilitation, vocational training or teaching parenting skills while living with her children in special housing. These programs come at a smaller tab to taxpayers compared to keeping the women in prison. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says that the health clearance is necessary because these specialize programs are located at smaller facilities without dentists or doctors on site.

The result is that women are having their teeth pulled rather than waiting for months to more than a year to be seen by dentist. According to The Mercury News, 9,000 teeth are pulled each year in California’s three female institutions, which house more than 12,000 women.

“Being a woman, I just feel degraded, really bad,” said inmate Sarina Borg who had 3 teeth pulled so she could be reunited with her baby daughter.

Losing teeth may give these women the right to programs they need and to see their children, but it also adds to their low self-esteem. It also gives them a disadvantage when they do get out of prison and have to find a job. The rough appearance and criminal record won’t take these women very far.

“I’d rather lose a tooth than not have my baby, so to me it was worth it,” 31-year-old Michelle Filby said. “But it would have been nice to maybe get a root canal or fillings.”

Ask a mother to choose anything over her child, and she will almost always choose her child. Women often choose taking care of their children over taking care of themselves. This is a huge barrier to getting substance abuse treatment, not to mention the social stigma attached to a mother with addiction issues.

Rachel Roth, an independent scholar and national expert on the health issues of women in prison, said the dental-clearance policy “just shows how desperate women are to get out of the big prisons and be with their children that they would allow themselves to be treated in such an inhumane way.”

Read the full article from The Mercury News: A painful choice for moms in prison

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,