Children And The Drug Crisis: Statistics and Risks

Children And The Drug Crisis: Are Your Kids At Risk?

Some children are affected by the drug crisis while in the womb and are born addicted. Others suffer neglect and abuse at the hands of drug-addicted parents. Children and teens raised in a environment where they are accidentally exposed to the deadly substance become victims of the opioid crisis. The drug crisis is endangering children and rapidly destroying families and lives.

Children And The Drug Crisis: Statistics and Risks

The numbers of children affected by the opioid drug crisis is staggering. Children are negatively impacted when a parent or sibling has a substance use disorder (SUD). According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “more than eight million children” reside with a parent or other adult with an SUD, and most have not reached their fifth birthday. There is not enough focus on children and the drug crisis. The news is full of drug raids, overdose deaths, and dealer arrests. The innocent victims are seldom mentioned.

Many children live with relatives or in foster care because their addicted parents are unable to care for them. The predicament created for children due to the drug crisis is evident in the numbers of families with substance abuse issues receiving welfare benefits. The challenges for child welfare workers trying to meet the needs of children and their parents are complex. New research and collaborative efforts are providing effective new strategies to prevent child mistreatment in families dealing with substance abuse.

Opiate Addicted Babies

It is shocking to know that every twenty-five minutes a baby is born suffering from opiate withdrawal. The drug withdrawal syndrome in newborn babies is called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), and it results in lengthy and expensive hospital stays. In 2012, an estimated 21,732 opiate addicted babies in the U.S. were born with this syndrome. NAS babies have high rates of respiratory complications and low birth-weight. The average hospital stay for a baby suffering from opiate withdrawal is seventeen days.

The annual cost to hospitals for opiate addicted babies is estimated to be about 1.5 billion dollars, and eighty-one percent of the cost is covered by state Medicaid programs. Spiraling costs are placing a heavy burden on state Medicaid budgets. WhiteSands Addiction Treatment Center can help pregnant addicts to get off the drugs immediately to lessen the risk of harm to their infants when they are born.

Teenage Drug Abuse

Teenage drug abuse is on the increase. Opioids and other drugs can cause long-lasting physical and emotional damage. Since the obvious side effects of drug use wears off after several hours or overnight, naive teenagers are unaware of the destructive work going on inside their minds and bodies. The long-term effects are nurtured each time the young person uses drugs.

Teenage drug abuse doesn’t exist because young people want to become addicts. The influence and pressure of peers, and an “it can’t happen to me” attitude is the cause of much teenage drug abuse. Parents should be aware of signs that indicate their teenager is experimenting with or abusing drugs. If your teenager starts acting differently with no explanation and exhibits any of the following signs, he or she is probably using drugs.

  • A change in friendships
  • Lack of interest in his or her personal grooming
  • Dropping grades
  • Trouble with teachers
  • Skipping school
  • Lying to you and others
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Becomes withdraw
  • Temper outbursts
  • Depressed
  • Hostile attitude

Teenage drug abuse is very dangerous because their brains have no previous exposure to drugs, which results in more intense neurochemical effects than adults experience.

If you have concerns that someone is pregnant and using drugs, or if you have a teenager you believe is abusing drugs, WhiteSands Addiction Treatment Center can help. Their trained staff and medical personnel can get someone you love into the programs and therapies that can get them off drugs and on the path to a healthy recovery. Call WhiteSands, and get the help you need.


If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.