Children: The Often-Forgotten Casualties of Drug Addiction in Texas

26 March 2018
Children dying from drug addiction in Texas.

Each and every one of us who has dealt with addiction in our lives understands that it doesn’t just affect the user. This disease has the power to ruin the lives of users’ families and loved ones, as well as the communities in which they choose to live. Perhaps one of the tragic and innocent groups of casualties of drug and alcohol abuse is the children who are born into it; new data on drug addiction in Texas brings the latest example of this reality to the forefront. While the number of children in Texas dying from abuse and neglect decreased by nearly a quarter in 2017, there is still a considerable number of children who are being killed by caregivers that struggle with substance use.

Destroying Families through Various Bizarre Factors

Some of the leading causes of death among children at the hands of caretakers struggling with drug addiction in Texas include trauma, auto accidents, accidental smothering and more. Stakeholders have heard numerous justifications from parents who use drugs, specifically marijuana, including how they don’t smoke it around their kids, marijuana’s “imminent” legality and its ubiquity in Texas. Half of the abuse and neglect-related child deaths that occurred in Texas last year were the result of parents or guardians impaired by drugs or alcohol. These numbers mirror similar statistics from a report submitted last year. The problem shows no signs of improvement.

A Diverse and Dangerous Phenomenon

Marijuana was the drug most commonly involved in substance-related abuse and neglect child deaths; behind that was alcohol followed methamphetamine. While opioids are a driving force behind drug addiction in Texas, they were not present in the top three. Stemming the tide of these tragic, alarming and entirely preventable deaths requires a combination of enforcement, education and, most of all, treatment. Parents need resources to overcome their substance use so they can successfully reintegrate into their families and reclaim their lives. The family is often the first casualty of drug or alcohol abuse and addiction; don’t let your family be one of these casualties.