Some people in this country believe that people who become addicted to drugs and alcohol should be left to their own desires because they’re only hurting themselves, but this isn’t true at all. Addiction affects everyone around the person including family, friends, co-workers, people sharing the road and many others. Substance abuse and addiction affect us all in some way, even if it means our tax dollars being spent to address the problems associated with it.
Of the many victims of addiction, the most disheartening stories are those involving the children of addicts and alcoholics. From abuse and neglect to tragic deaths, the stories are hard to listen to. A recent investigative report out of Florida shows hundreds of children who died unnecessarily over a six-year period because of their parents’ substance abuse and addiction, even though the state was aware of the danger before their deaths occurred. The heartbreaking stories include drownings and suffocation to much more violent incidents.
It is incredibly difficult to think about, but turning away won’t make the problem go away. The Miami Herald’s investigation into the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) showed that the department knew about the drug and alcohol problems of these parents but failed to act to protect the children. They claimed they didn’t have the authority to intervene and force parents to either get help or lose custody unless there was a court order.
Should state agencies have the right to remove children if they know the parents are using drugs and putting their lives at risk? Does this invade their privacy with a Big Brother-type long arm, or is it the right thing to do to save the kids? Perhaps rather than cutting funding for the state agency and substance abuse treatment (as happened in Florida), more funding should be made available for both, and also for special agents to investigate and do what is right for the children on a case-by-case basis.
However, keep in mind that in order for things to even get to this point, it usually means that other people who were aware of the situation failed to intervene as well. Remember, family interventions on addicted parents aren’t just for them, but can also save the lives of their children.
If you know of someone in need of an intervention for substance abuse, contact Family First Intervention today.