Thursday, February 12, 2009

Heroin addict's children: counting the cost

A study of the children of heroin addicts by researchers at the University of Washington in the U.S. has revealed just how tough they have it in childhood and how this can affect them well into adulthood. The study looked at families between 1991 and 1993 and then re-interviewed the children in 2005/6 when they were, on average, 23 years old. The survey looked at adverse events in childhood (on top of having a heroin addict for a parent) including: family mental illness, having a parent jailed, family violence, being a victim of abuse and having a parent die. They found that 70% of children were exposed to two or more of these events, 62% to three or more, and 22% to four or more. Of the 125 young adults who took part in the study only 30 had demonstrated 'resilience' defined as being either working or in school, not using drugs and having a clear criminal record for the last five years. Girls were four times more likely to achieve this than boys, primarily because they were much less likely to get into trouble with the law.

You can find out more about this research at

1 comment:

Ally Mort said...

You want to know what it's like? You're parents fight, they have no money. You have a welfare Christmas every year. If you are lucky, one of your parents will go dope sick in order to get you a decent gift. There will be people in and out of your house. Maybe the school will send you to a DARE camp to teach you to avoid it and what to do in case of an emergency. You will find your mother on the floor with cyanotic skin; you will have to put ice on her to bring her down and do CPR. You will find needles and bags in the bathroom. You may be abandoned, and you will forever live with guilt, rejection, anxiety, and maybe even PTSD. It is scary and traumatizing. Children should NEVER be subjected to this.