Drug abuse by parents is a major reason behind maltreatment of children, often leading to their death, a recent report by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services reveals. It says that a majority of children who had died of abuse and neglect in the state had a substance abusing parent to blame.
Such children who had suffered fatalities had either been smothered in their sleep, or were drowned when they were in the bathtub. Some of the children had succumbed to the trauma, while yet others died when they were left unattended in a hot car. It was also evident from the report that children who were driven around by inebriated parents had high risks of dying of negligence.
Overall, the report indicated that the numbers of child abuse and negligence fatalities had dropped by 22.5 percent in 2017. However, nearly half of the deaths happened as a result of parental drug or alcohol use. The findings were similar to the previous year (2016) report. Half of the 222 children who died were under the supervision of a parent or caregiver who was on drugs or alcohol.
Some key findings of the report are:
- In the last five years or so, children aged 3 years or younger formed a major chunk (80 percent) of the abuse and neglect fatalities.
- 52 percent of the fatalities were caused due to a substance abusing parent.
- 23 percent of the child abuse victims had a parent or a caregiver with mental health condition.
- Incidents of domestic violence were responsible for 17 percent of child fatalities.
- More than 57 percent of children who had died from abuse or neglect in fiscal 2017 were too young for school and were not enrolled in day care. In 2016, the numbers were 40 percent.
- History of domestic violence was noticed in 40 percent of child fatalities.
- The 2017 report also stated that marijuana was the most commonly used substance connected to child abuse and caused caused by negligence, followed by alcohol, cocaine and methamphetamine; and sometimes a combination of substances.
Drug use and impact on children
Unfortunately, many parents do not realize how their substance abuse impacts parenting. As they stone themselves with marijuana, they feel that they are just doing weed and their child is unlikely to be harmed. However, a stoned parent is unlikely to mete out the same levels of love and care that someone who is not addicted to any substance can provide.
Dimple Patel, associate director of public policy at TexProtects – an organization focused on child welfare policy – said every case is a "different and unique situation" and that sometimes parents can be functioning drug users who don't impact the safety and well-being of their kids. One of the reasons why parents are unable to access the right kind of treatment is due to fact that they cannot take time off from work or lack the support system that would ensure that their kids are being taken care of while they are treated.
Choosing a life devoid of drugs
One can easily choose a life devoid of drugs. However, before embarking on this journey, it is necessary to remove the traces of toxins from one's system. Detoxification is the first step to attain recovery. Therefore, it is important that the detox facility chosen is equipped with all the conveniences that make the path to sobriety easier and effective, thus paving the way for a successful recovery. Enrolling in a program at any of the accredited rapid detox centers can make the journey less cumbersome.