Consequences of Opioid Addiction among Parents

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Jun 192015

Taken as doctor’s prescription, opioids can help manage pain safely and effectively. However, when abused, even a single large dose can cause severe respiratory depression and even death. Regular and long-term abuse of these drugs can lead to physical dependence and, in most cases, addiction. While it has bad effects on single individuals in terms of how they lead their lives, it is worse for fathers and mothers. Here are the usual consequences of opioid addiction among parents:

  • Elevated Risk of Neglect for Their Children

Parents who abuse opioids tend to neglect their children, making them at risk of getting certain health and safety issues. Addiction experts found that these parents are perceived to disrupt the stability of their family life by channelling household resources towards payments for the drugs and messing up routines, such as meal and bed times.

  • Poor Approach to Discipline

Drug misuse is linked to parents’ responsiveness and involvement with their children, as well as their approach to discipline. Research shows that parenting quality of mothers decreases as their involvement with drugs increases. In comparison with non-drug users, they behave in more power-assertive ways towards their children and display more disapproving and provoking behaviours.

  • Social and Psychological Difficulties Among Children

Studies of child outcomes generally suggest that children whose parents are suffering from opioid addiction or are being dependent on other illicit substances, like cocaine, are at some risk of experiencing social and psychological difficulties. These include behavioural adjustment, communication, intelligence and developmental progress.

These children are also reported to be scoring lower than those of non-drug users in terms of academic competence. However, to date, the processes by which child outcomes come about still has not been adequately explored, though there has been recently seen a growth of interest in explaining links between parental drug dependence and the quality of children’s nurturing environments.

  • Weaker Bonds Between Members of the Family

Children of drug users are more likely to have lived outside their family home, most often with some relatives. Also, some of them would be placed in care outside, like an orphanage, or, worse, would become homeless.

On the part of the parents, they will feel dissatisfied with the levels of the children’s availability, both in terms of physical presence and emotional responsiveness. This is mainly because of three factors, which include the contextual/lifestyle (which relates to acquisition and ingestion of drugs, imprisonment and attendance at treatment facilities), physiological (which relates to intoxication and withdrawal syndrome) and psychological (which relates to pre-occupation with drugs and instability of moods).

Considering these consequences, it is also a fact that grandparents are feeling the negative effects of opioid addiction or any other drug dependence as well. They are finding themselves raising their grandchildren because of their own children’s abuse of such substances. Often times, they have to deal with difficult choices, such as being forced to move out of elderly homes because these facilities do not allow live-in children or putting grandchildren in foster care because they are not able to take custody due to health or financial barriers.

So, to prevent these scenarios from happening, one should avoid any substance of abuse, in this case, opioids. Then he/she will be able to live a happy, healthy and long life with the whole family.


 Posted by at 3:02 pm