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Children of Addiction: A Single Bullet Point in the Opioid Crisis

Dani DiPirro , NACoA Communications Specialist

Last week you might have seen this video of a mother attempting to inject heroin while her 4-year-old son stood nearby. As the drug and opioid epidemic sweeps across the nation, heartbreaking images like this are appearing with unfortunate regularity, sprinkled with stories about the extraordinary generosity of people, often grandparents,  reaching out to foster some of the children whose parents have been captured by opioid addiction, an insidious brain-base disorder. Whether drug misuse happens in a back alley in Cincinnati, OH, as seen in this video, or on the marble counter tops of an estate in the Hamptons, children across the country are living in homes where parental addiction is present — an undeniable reality often ignored when the impact of addiction is presented in the media and in purportedly comprehensive government reports and commissions.

The Top 5 Ways to Get Involved in National Recovery Month

Ivette A. Torres, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment Associate Director for Consumer Affairs 

National Recovery Month is an essential part of the substance use disorder field observance calendar each year. For the last 27 years it has provided venues for people in recovery and their families, the recovery community services providers, and the community in general to celebrate those in recovery from mental and substance use disorders, each September. It helps the broader community understand that addictions are a family disease that can be addressed by taking the first step to seek help for these conditions. It underscores the need for civic engagement, business partnerships and local and national outreach with the goal of addressing the disease of addiction in every community.”

Times Change And So Do We

Stephanie Abbott, M.A., NACoA Publications Editor & Family Counselor

In The Beginning

On Valentine’s Day in 1983, twenty pioneers who cared about the plight of children of alcoholics met in California to formalize their vision of a national organization that would be a voice for these children of all ages, and would mobilize community awareness and involvement.  They were program developers, social workers, psychiatrists, clinicians, researchers, writers, and professors who had found each other in mid-1982, mostly by word of mouth. They formed what became the National Association for Children of Alcoholics.”

Why COA Awareness Week?

Sis Wenger, NACoA President/CEO

If a child grows up with addiction, that is probably not the only risk factor in the home. ACEs or adverse childhood experiences tend to cluster; once a home environment is disordered, the risk of witnessing or experiencing emotional, physical, or sexual abuse actually rises dramatically (Anda, et al., 2006).

While addiction, with an emphasis today on opioid addiction, is very much a part of the political and public discourse, the needs of the children hurt by addiction in the family – too often with lifetime consequences – are seldom part of the conversation. The confusion, fear and helplessness present in their daily lives creates a chronic emotional trauma that is unseen and unaddressed in their homes, their schools and their faith communities. It is also too frequently ignored in the family doctor’s office.”


Jerry Moe, M.A., Betty Ford Center National Director of Children’s Programs Read More >>