If you’ve followed the news at all recently, then you are aware that there is an epidemic of opioid abuse that is taking the nation by hold. While those who abuse illegal and dangerous drugs like heroin can pose a danger to themselves, they can also put their children at risk of physical and emotional harm. To start with, children who live in homes where substance abuse occurs are more likely to be the victims of physical and sexual abuse. But even those children who are not victimized can be negatively affected by witnessing instances of violence within the home.
Children with parents who abuse drugs can be affected in other ways, too. For example, because their parent’s behavior is often unpredictable, a child of a substance abuser may develop mistrust not only of his or her parent but of other adults too. This, in turn, may lead to poor school performance and aggressiveness toward authority figures. These children may also develop a sense of shame about their parent’s problem. He or she may also place the blame for the parent’s substance abuse on him or herself. Fear, confusion and insecurity can also be present in these children.
The affects don’t end there, either. The child of a drug user may be at risk of unstable housing, particularly if drug use leads to sudden or continuing unemployment. The stress a child feels may also cause health problems such as gastrointestinal disorders. He or she may also be subjected to inadequate supervision and missed school due to parent unavailability.
In short, drug use can have a drastic impact on a child. Therefore, those parents who believe their child is in a home where drugs are being used should consider taking the legal steps necessary to ensure that child’s safety. This may include petitioning for custody or filing a petition to modify an existing child custody order. To develop a strategy on how to address such matters, Illinois and Indiana residents can reach out to experienced family law attorneys. This not only helps protect your rights as a parent but also the best interests of your child as well.