Friday, July 10, 2009

Drug-using mothers and at-risk children

Experts have known for a long time that children of mothers who abuse drugs are more likely to come to harm than other children. But there have been few good-quality studies into this and the extent of the risk is unclear. Researchers from the Royal Children's Hospital in Brisbane studied 357 children. 119 of them had mothers who used opiates, amphetamines or methadone while the remainder did not use illegal drugs. Half of the children born to drug-using mothers became victims of neglect or physical, emotional, or sexual abuse and those whose mothers abused amphetamines or pilates were 13 times more likely to becomed victims of neglect or abuse. However, the children of the mothers who were compliant with their methadone treatment had only a third of the risk of those who mothers used opiates or amphetmaines. One quarter of the children of drug-abusing mothers entered foster care compared to only 2% of the children of the non-drugs users

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