The Staggering Costs of Addiction
The yearly costs of chemical dependency, including medical care, premature death, unemployment, criminal justice involvement, and addiction treatment, is estimated to be over 165 billion dollars and 50,000 lives per year (Landau et al., 2000). According to national statistics, over 12 million children are currently estimated to be living in homes where at least one parent has used an illicit psychoactive substance (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, SAMHSA, 2004). Children of parents who abuse drugs are directly impacted by the implications of parental addiction and its affects on the family environment.
According to the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (SAMSHA, 2004), families of substance abusing individuals have higher degrees of relational conflict. Children in these families are often exposed to chaotic environments that offer little stability or emotional support, thus rendering them more vulnerable to experiencing emotional and physical abuse or violence. Additionally, families with parents who abuse drugs show decreased family cohesion and family organization and are more likely to be isolated from their extended family and community.