Children in Foster Care More Prone to Drug Abuse — Study Says

The challenges associated with poor socioeconomic conditions during early life can have a significant adverse impact on a child’s physical and mental development. Understandably, providing a drug-free environment during early years can potentially reduce addiction rates in children. Currently, many children in welfare programs are living under the dark shadow of illegal drug abuse and other vices.

Of late, there has been a significant rise in the number of children in welfare programs due to a plethora of reasons such as child abuse and neglect and substance abuse by parents. According to data released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, an organization working on improving the condition of disadvantaged children in America, the number of foster kids in 14 states, from New Hampshire to North Dakota, increased by nearly a quarter between 2011 and 2015.

A 2017 study by researchers at the University of North Carolina (UNC) highlighted the issue, suggesting that childhood welfare participation was linked with substance abuse during adulthood.

Stigmatized and ostracized children and substance abuse

Children who have been victims of abuse and neglect or who have no one to look after them seek refuge in foster homes. As they grow up in welfare and foster homes, these kids often suffer from a sense of stigma. They feel deprived of a loving family environment.

The latest study tried to explore whether childhood welfare participation before the age of 18 years was responsible for substance abuse in young adulthood. Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the study evaluated the data of nearly 12,000 participants in the national survey of adolescents. It was observed that children who were brought up in welfare were “30 percent less likely to remain marijuana-free and 16 percent less likely to not use illicit substances during young adulthood.” There is an alarming prevalence of illicit drugs like cocaine and marijuana among the younger population in America, which points at the need for implementing effective remedial measures to curb the crisis.

Commenting on the results of the study, Shiyou Wu, author of the study and Ph.D. candidate at the UNC, said, “Studies pay more attention to the welfare recipients and the relationship between welfare participation and substance use has strong implications for policymakers.”

Thus, it is important for the policymakers to be aware of the vulnerabilities related to welfare participation and the necessary measures required for preventing long-term behavioral health issues, such as substance abuse. Apart from stressing on the role of a drug-free environment in preventing drug misuse, the study also called for “restrictive rules” regarding public drug use, especially in low-income communities.

Road to recovery

One of the primary reasons behind the rising number of children living in foster care is opioid addiction of their parents. Between 2012 and 2015, there has been a dramatic upsurge in kids without homes and nearly 30,000 children have been placed in foster homes nationally. In Ohio, for instance, which had the America’s highest overdosing incidents, the number of children who were in court custody increased from 69 to 274 during the corresponding period.

Addiction to any drug is dangerous. It can have serious implications if intervention is not timely. For children in welfare, timely detection and early interventions could help in preventing the drug problem.

If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction to any substance, it is imperative to seek professional help. The Colorado Drug Addiction Help provides much-needed information to those looking for the right treatment. If you wish to know about the best drug addiction treatment centers in Colorado, call us on our 24/7 helpline number 866–218–7546 and get connected to one of the finest addiction treatment centers.