Imagine being this child. From birth, you have watched your parents secure prescription opioid drugs, become drug addicts themselves, and continually sell chemicals they do not ingest both to satisfy their addictions but also to make money to support the family. Since the drugs have ravaged and debilitated your family, your mom and dad have lost the ability to secure and hold jobs. It is relatively simple for them to make cash by dealing. The only money flow you see in the household comes from a stash of drug money. This is your life and your reality of each and every day.
What does tomorrow hold for you? With lost morality and a meager existence, you barely survive a life surrounded by criminal activity. You understand your place in the family. With every ounce of understanding and logic you possess, you realize you are secondary to the drugs. Without the money the pills provide, you go hungry and your family dissolves. The biggest dependent in the household is not you, it is your addicted parents, who, in turn, depend on the bloody dollar bills.
You have no bright future. You have no expectations of doing anything except what your personal role models do to keep your family above water. As you get older, you realize that your classmates and their families know what your mother and father do, so you become labeled a "druggie" yourself. You seek the companionship of others like you, and you readily find other "druggies" who become your close friends. You have never taken a drug in your life. But, eventually, you reach a crossroads - of course, you take the obvious path that you already know by heart.
These children are lost in America. Without miraculous works of others, they will be the new generation of the illegal drug trade. Even with the influence of schools, civic groups, and churches, their odds of dying or facing a lifetime of incarceration and debilitation are extremely high.
The education of the child is incomplete without both the education and the commitment to change of the CLEAN adult. In order to be proactive, all people must pledge and work to offer affordable, successful intervention to the entire families of those addicted to drugs. No one really likes to hear this, but what is the workable alternative?
The criminal element threatens everyone. Addicts must have money to secure the fix. The cost of maintaining a full-blown habit is staggering. The high premiums demanded by addiction -- yes, even small town rural addiction -- produce huge cash flows. One honest addict who began his addiction when securing Oxys for back pain used about 200mg a day and spent $2,000 a month for the drug.
That cost does not even represent averages calculated by many detox centers. (Steve Hayes, Novus Medical Detox Centers, 2007-2010)
For purposes of an example, let's assume that a person uses 120 milligrams of OxyContin each day or 3,600 milligrams per month, and they have to purchase it on the street. Using the DEA estimated average cost of $1.15 per milligram, here are the costs of OxyContin:
What Is Available to Help Children Now?
The risk and protective factors are the primary targets of effective prevention programs used in family, school, and community settings. The goal of these programs is to build new and strengthen existing protective factors and reverse or reduce risk factors in youth.
1. Prevention Programs
These programs are usually designed to reach target populations in their primary setting. However, in recent years it has become more common to find programs for any given target group in a variety of settings, such as holding a family-based program in a school or a church.
2. Audience-based Programs for which they are designed:
- Universal programs are designed for the general population, such as all students in a school.
- Selective programs target groups at risk or subsets of the general population, such as poor school achievers or children of drug abusers.
- Indicated programs are designed for people already experimenting with drugs.
1. Better family communication skills,
2. Appropriate discipline styles,
3. Firm and consistent rule enforcement, and
4. Other family management approaches.
Research confirms the benefits to parents who do the following:
1. Provide their children consistent rules and discipline,
2. Talk to their children about drugs,
3. Monitor their children's activities,
4. Get to know their children's friends,
5. Understand their children's problems and concerns,
6. Become actively involved in their children's learning, and
7. Continue (even increase) the importance of the parent-child relationship through adolescence and beyond.
You, the child represented in the opening paragraph, rightly depend upon your parents to provide a clean, safe, and healthy environment. All of the rules, monitoring, involvement, and management is meaningless to you because your so-called good intentioned role models are addicted. They may sincerely raise you to become better citizens than they are, BUT IT ALL IS A LIE TO YOU. Without divine or professional intervention, YOU WILL BECOME AN ADDICT.
If we really have compassion for all and hopes for a better world in the future, we must not ignore this problem. We live in a society that contains an element that depends on illegal drugs to exist, and in some cases, to thrive. The child in this element is a victim of abuse, just as much a victim as a child suffering from parental sexual or physical abuse. To refuse to help the child caught in a criminal element is neglect, neglect just as severe as failure to complete obligations in more attractive human endeavors. We must realize the failure to comply is arguably criminal in its consequences.
Fixing the drug problem requires money, time, and effort. Merely looking after our own children will not lead to a solution. Don't misunderstand me, watching our own is important; however, doing this and nothing else will not positively affect the terrible abuse of drugs. Many of us have done this for too long, and now we reap the deadly results. A good society stakes its value on the reactions and actions of all people for the common good, not just for the immediate good.
The death penalty, prison, and punitive measures represent avenues of justice, yet all these reactions are taken "after the fact." Many Americans have such a distaste for drug dealers that they desire instant, harsh retribution. What about their children? Will their natural love for their parents desist as they view their role models behind bars? What can we expect them to become? A better question is: What would YOU become in THEIR place?
Citizens, parents, local governments, state governments, the federal government -- please pledge support and money to proactive prevention programs. It is an imperative for the children. In Scioto County, Ohio, one in ten babies is born addicted. Educate all, all, all.
Note: This post is respectfully dedicated to Kim Rogers, Sheriff of Adams County, Ohio.
Look here for examples of National Institute of Drug Abuse Research-Based Drug Abuse Prevention Programs: