Methamphetamine and opioid addiction are ravaging Oklahoma.
Parents who are substance-use impaired are more likely to put their children in danger. In 2016, a baby born to a mother with a substance use disorder died in Oklahoma. The baby girl tested positive for methamphetamine, amphetamine, and marijuana when she was born. Police also found bags of drugs within reach of the mother’s four children.
If you or someone you know is using substances while they are pregnant or have small children, it’s vital to take action. Action might take the form of seeking treatment or support from the local government authorities who can help parents with a substance use disorder keep their children from harm.
How Drug Use Affects Children
Here are just some of the ways in which drug use can directly impact kids:
- Children can inhale the fumes produced from a meth lab which can cause long-term damage to their health
- Parents who use drugs in front of their children are modeling poor behavior and making the children more likely to start using later in life. Often several generations under one roof have drug problems since drug use is the norm
- Children are at risk of ingesting drugs accidentally if drugs and paraphernalia are left within their reach at home
- Children are likely to suffer abuse from their substance-use impaired parents causing untold psychological damage
Children with drug-addicted parents suffer damage to their social lives. They can’t have their friends over for visits or sleepovers. Parents sometimes even warn their children that if they tell the police about their drug use, they’ll be put in jail and never see them again.
Adverse Childhood Experiences
The effects that parental drug abuse has on children are far-reaching.
40% to 60% of people with a substance use disorder self-medicate with illicit substances in adulthood. When drug-endangered children grow up, they are more likely to become drug users themselves.
Adverse childhood experiences create negative core beliefs in children that persist into adulthood. When not addressed, a person who has suffered adverse childhood experiences tends to experience negative trains of thought that cause mental health problems such as:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
Although parental substance use isn’t defined as child neglect, it’s considered a major factor.
When someone reports a drug-endangered child, an investigation is made rather than an assessment.
Oklahoma has legislation to improve social services for children of those who suffer from substance use in Oklahoma. The House Bill 2251 defines a drug-endangered child as, “a child suffering physical, psychological, or sexual harm as a result of the use, possession, or cultivation of controlled substances.”
To protect children from harm, the Oklahoma State has the policy to remove drug-endangered children from their homes. The methamphetamine and opioid crisis is placing pressure on foster care resources.
The Oklahoma Prenatal Addiction Act rules that state healthcare providers cannot refuse to treat pregnant women that need treatment for a substance use in Oklahoma.
Treatment of Substance Abuse Disorder in Pregnancy
To try to keep children with their mothers, pregnant women can seek help for their substance use disorder.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine also endorses methadone and buprenorphine for pregnant women with an opioid use disorder.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is considered the gold standard in drug treatment. Patients who attend this type of treatment have a strong prospect of maintaining a successful recovery.
MAT treatment combines medication with cognitive behavioral therapy. The medication helps to soothe withdrawal symptoms while intensive individual and group therapy sessions teach recovery skills and build resolve. Treatment programs also incorporate peer support groups which are a vital element to staying substance-free long after detox is complete.
Federal Drug Awareness Programs
Tackling parental substance use disorder is crucial in the fight against the current drug crisis. The prospect of addicted future generations means the crisis will only snowball if it’s left unchecked.
The Oklahoman state has invested in several prevention initiatives designed to educate parents and the community about the dangers of drugs and specifically the laws regarding substance use in Oklahoma. These include:
- Parents 360
- Youth 360
- Meth 360
- Latino 360
- Padres 360
The Oklahoma Partnership Initiative aims to help children who are affected by drug use and drug-using parents to minimize physical and emotional damage.
What To Do Next
Every member of the community must foster a more caring and empathic attitude towards pregnant women who are addicted to drugs.
Judgment prevents pregnant women from reaching out for treatment while kindness and empathy go a long way to help someone who needs support for drug addiction.
Treatment and prevention are key if the US is to tackle the opioid and methamphetamine crisis effectively.
If you are a parent and have a substance use disorder help is out there. It is possible to heal from an addiction. Many are in prolonged successful recovery and are now parenting effectively and providing their children with the best future possible. If you or someone you know is struggling, get help today by calling the friendly team at Landmark Recovery at 888-448-0302.
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