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The National Institute on drug abuse estimates that a quarter of children in the U.S. grow up in households where there is substance abuse. It makes them 8 times more likely to develop an addiction of their own. Many children are unfortunate enough to have to pay the consequences that drug abusing adults indirectly throw at them. Many of these children grow up to be adults who have, over time, developed the same habits. Others have no control over the development of their habits because it was simply all in the hands of their mothers.
Because of the dangers that children face that come from substance abusing adults, the government should take strong actions to reduce drug abuse within pregnant women to prevent children from being born with any form of problems, open up safe treatment facilities to encourage children to join them without any fears of mistreatment, and have regular check-ups in homes where drug abuse has been present to reduce the chances of children developing a habit of using drugs while increasing their education levels.
Studies show that drugs during pregnancy affects how a baby’s brain develops. According to Sarah Varney’s article, “As Marijuana Laws Relax, Doctors Say Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Partake,” Verney claims that using drugs, specifically marijuana in this case, can have long term effects during a child’s life. Children who come from drug abusing mothers have been seen to have a significant differences with their mentalities than those with mothers who have not used drugs during pregnancy.
Verney states that when pregnant women use drugs before giving birth, “these kids may have behavioral problems at higher rates than other children by age 14, and are at greater risk for initiating marijuana use” after they are born. These behaviors include anger issues and tantrums and are more likely to occur in children who were exposed to drugs while in the womb. As these kids grow, they will get a sense of knowledge that their brains have developed differently the rest of their peers, which can then lead to them feeling like outliers. Throwing tantrums and talking back might also be an issue when it comes to behaving in a school environment. In addition to premature brain development and behavioral issues, the children of pregnant women tend to have increased health risks and may even pass away before being born.
In the article titled “Using Illegal Drugs During Pregnancy,” by the American Pregnancy Association, it is claimed that using drugs while pregnant can cause a child to have to face many health risks. They assert that “studies have shown that consumption of illegal drugs during pregnancy can result in miscarriage, low birth weight, premature labor, placental abruption, fetal death, and even maternal death.” Something as serious as death should be enough to encourage women to quit drugs but sadly, the government does not do a good job to address how serious this problem is. While a drug like marijuana is portrayed as an “innocent” drug in today’s society, it’s clearly has a downfall when it comes to a pregnant woman using the drug. Many others drugs including cocaine, heroin, LSD, methamphetamine, and so on, can do the same. It’s understandable that many women don’t just stop taking drugs during pregnancy; afterall, there are no real punishments for it except in one state which is Tennessee. This is why the government should have doctors inform their pregnant patients about drug abuse and urge them to attend parental visits. Give them information about present as well as future problems they may face without the help of counseling. Having tests are recommended and every hospital should be willing to encourage their patients to take them. This will increase a child’s life expectancy and health without any punishments from the government.
Treatment facilities tend to be unsafe and draw children away from going to them. In the article “For parents of teenagers in addiction, treatment is expensive, daunting – and increasingly hard to find,” by Aubrey Whelan, Jennifer Smith, a secretary of the state Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, speaks about the many different problems that has been documented in drug treatment facilities. After Smith explains that teenagers in the past had been involuntarily taken to facilities, she then goes to say that this was potentially a bad idea because “employees at several treatment facilities around the state have been accused of inappropriate conduct with their teenage charges, leading to those institutions’ closures.” Facilities brought the involuntary bringing of teenagers in for help to an abrupt stop, which lead to the declinement of turnouts in these facilities. It’s becoming increasingly often that teens would much rather skip on an opportunity to get help due to fears that come from stories told about these facilities. It’s also seen that because of these occurrences, millions of facilities have been seen closing all around the world which is another factor as to why many children aren’t seen showing up for assistance. In another source titled “Q&A: What Really Goes on In Drug Rehabs,” by Maia Szalavitz, Szalavitz interviews an author by the name of Anne Fletcher who writes about the good and bads of drug rehab facilities.
Szalavitz requests that Fletcher describes what she was told while visiting a few facilities and she gives an insight to something horrendous. She reveals that “the worst thing I heard reported… I was told about a place that treated indigent people, which was loving and caring [in the treatment itself.] But at night, [the participants] lived in sober homes and had to sit on boxes in the corner or wear [humiliating and degrading] signs around their neck, and that occurred in 2010.” Unethical treatment done on people by the employees at these facilities have become something commonly seen throughout the world. Because this is an increasing issue, the government should focus just as much on getting rid of current drug abusers and getting rid of the problem of drug abuse before it emerges, in this case funding money to open up safe drug treatment facilities. The reason for the unsafe facilities are due to the fact that many of the employees are not professionals and didn’t need to meet a specific standard when they were hired. This is clearly wrong because getting help for something as strong as a drug is something that needs professional assistance. The encouragement of teens visiting facilities is much needed which is why the government is highly recommended that they put in the time to advertise the facilities, making them look friendly rather than intimidating. The government should take a strong approach to open up safe facilities with properly trained employees that meet specific standards. Regular government check ups on facilities are recommended as well. Overall, this will increase turnout rates and change many childrens lives.
Children are naturally programmed to look up to the adults they are surrounded with and develop habits similar to theirs. If they see their guardians using drugs, they will, by instinct, think that this is okay for them to try as well. In the article “How Parents Influence Their Children’s Substance Abuse,” by the Prominence Treatment, the author makes it clear that children are very adaptable and begin to believe that everything their parents do is good for them to do as well. They state that “when children see their parents abusing alcohol, marijuana or any other substance, only one thing settles in their mind; if it’s OK for their parents to do it; it’s OK for them, too. They kind of rationalize in their minds that their own substance use is justified.” This eventually leads these children down a drug abusing road and that affects their day to day life. At times, children that are raised by drug addicted parents also endure having to deal with domestic violence which can be tough on a child of a young age. In another article called Children of Addiction Face Adult Challenges,” by Lauren Chval, Chval explains that children are very observant and while that may be a good aspect in a normal family situation, it’s a negative thing for a child in a situation where family violence is common due to drug abuse. She acknowledges that “the majority of patients suffering from addiction have extraordinary traumatic pasts… in many cases, that includes camino from a household where a primary caregiver struggled with substance abuse as well.”
Traumatic pasts may lead these individuals to take on drugs to cure their “open scars,” as Chval puts it. Because kids are turning to drugs for “help,” their education levels and grades begins to decrease. In the article “How Does Drug Use Affect Your High School Grades,” by Just Think Twice, the authors begin to explain how the brain works and how every single part of the brain is connected. This means that if a drug messes up one part of the brain, it messes up every other part as well. The authors of the article also talk about “traffic patterns” that neurotransmitters use to get information around the brain. They say that drugs mess up the normal pathway and that when they put grades to the test, they found that “teens who abuse drugs have lower grades, a higher rate of absence from school and other activities, and an increased potential for dropping out of school.”This seems to become a cycle with families who have adults that abuse drugs. In today’s world, grades can determine how successful a child is iduring their adult lives. Sadly, their own parents or guardians screw them over, simply because of weak regulations regarding drugs. Because of this, the government is recommended that the do regular check ups in homes where drug abuse had been seen in the past to catch kids who have been seen developing drug abuse before it worsens. Counseling for parents or guardians is also recommended as this could help them break away from drugs to give their children better lives and give them a better chance at succeeding.
Children around the world face dangers that come from substance abusing adults, which should encourage the government to take strong actions to reduce drug abuse within pregnant women to prevent children from being born with any form of problems, open up safe treatment facilities to encourage children to join them without any fears of mistreatment, and have regular check-ups in homes where drug abuse has been present to reduce the chances of children developing a habit of using drugs while increasing their education levels. Providing counseling for pregnant women as well as testing, opening up safe drug facilities and encouraging teens to attend as well as having government approved check ups in homes where drug abuse had been previously seen will do wonders when it comes to talking about changing a child’s life for the better. The government should take the topic of drug abuse seriously as it affects the way future adults behave. Drug abuse is a huge issue in today’s world and the government should be taking precautions to prevent it from getting worse.
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