Who are Drug Endangered Children?
We define drug endangered children as children who are at risk of suffering physical or emotional harm as a result of legal and/or illegal drug use, possession, manufacturing, cultivation, or distribution.
They may also be children whose caretaker’s legal and/or illegal substance misuse interferes with the caretaker’s ability to parent and provide a safe and nurturing environment.
Watch this micro course to learn, in under 5 minutes, who drug endangered children are and why they need your help.
What is the Scope of the Issue?
- Over 107,000 overdose deaths were reported in 2021 in the United States (1).
- How many children were impacted by these deaths, losing parents, grandparents or caregivers? It’s unknown since this information is not tracked.
- Every 25 minutes a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal (2).
- 1 in 8 children (8.7 million) live in households with at least one parent who has a substance use disorder (SUD) (3).
- 1 in 10 children (7.5 million) live in households with at least one parent who has an alcohol use disorder (3).
- 1 in 35 children (2.1 million) live in households with at least one parent who has an illicit drug use disorder (3).
- As big as these numbers are, we know they are low since these are all diagnosed disorders meaning the parent has received some form of treatment. How many children are living with parents who don’t know how or where to go to seek treatment?
- Children whose parents abuse alcohol or drugs are:
- 3 times more likely to be verbally, physically or sexually abused
4 times more likely than other children to be neglected (4).
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Overdose Deaths In 2021 Increased Half as Much as in 2020 – But Are Still Up 15%
- American Academy of Pediatrics America’s Opioid Crisis: The Unseen Impact on Children
- Lipari, Rachel N. and Struther L. Van Horn. 2017. “Children Living With Parents Who Have a Substance Use Disorder.”
- The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. No safe haven: Children of substance-abusing parents.
What Does The National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children Do?
We offer Help, Hope and Support to children, families and communities through:
- Child Focused Training for multidisciplinary teams, coalitions, DEC Alliances and other community organizations.
- Capacity Building, DEC Academy 101: Developing Foundational Knowledge, Training of Trainers, DEC & Human Trafficking Intersection and more.
- Ongoing Technical Assistance to sustain efforts, build collaboration, share best practices and facilitate peer-to-peer sharing.
Watch our 2 1/2 minute video business card for more about our Training and Technical Assistance.
What can you do to get involved and help identify and intervene on behalf of children being impacted by substance misuse?
Invite National DEC to provide training and technical assistance to your community. See our Training & TA tab above.
Legislative (Federal, State, Tribal and Local) efforts to define, identity and provide services to drug endangered children.
Funding to support DEC efforts in your community.
Incorporate child focused initiatives and practices into your community – identify, intervene, provide services.
Build capacity and amplify existing coalitions, MDTs and community organizations with child focused DEC efforts.
Contact us for Help, Hope and Support at [email protected].