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How Lawmakers Are Addressing the Impact of Addiction on American Families

Addiction isn’t something a person suffers in isolation. When one person suffers from addiction, it can affect the people around them in negative ways. Whether it be alcohol or drugs, addiction can disrupt family structures and result in children being uprooted from the home.

To understand the size of the problem, at least 21 million Americans have at least one addiction. This is a significant number of the population whose lives are being destroyed by a treatable disease.

It is important to explore how addiction affects families as well as what can be done to fix the problem. In this article, you'll discover the impact addiction is having on American families and how lawmakers are addressing it.

How Addiction Affects Families

Family dysfunction is one impact addiction has on American families. Members of the family may begin taking on a range of survival roles to cope with the instability of addiction causes. In an attempt to help the family member struggling with addiction, it is easy for a cycle of co-dependency and enabling to form.

The types of roles they take on differ according to the structure of that family. For instance, if a child has a parent battling substance abuse, they can take on the role of a spouse or caregiver. As a result of the shame and stigma attached to drug abuse, it's also likely for families to keep the addiction secret.

Another direct consequence of addiction is that more kids are being put into the foster care system. Research has found that the number of kids who have been put in foster care due to parental drug abuse has more than doubled in the past two decades. It rose from 39,100 in 2000 to 96,700 in 2017. Family separation at this rate is likely to have long-lasting effects on all aspects of child development.

Children being exposed to addiction can also increase the risk of them becoming addicts. Psychology Today has found that 1 in 5 children grow up in a home where a parent abuses alcohol or drugs. As a result, they're more likely to develop substance abuse disorders as adults. Since addiction is proving to be genetic in many cases, being exposed to substance abuse at an early age could also trigger addiction in them.

Work Presently Being Done

Work is presently being done by states and organizations to help combat addiction. The good news is that in 2018, drug overdose deaths in America dropped by 5%. The drop in deaths from overdose could be because of limits that have been instituted on the prescription of painkillers in many states.

Each state is affected differently by drug addiction and each has its own programs to help mitigate said problem. West Virginia, for instance, is a top 10 state for drug overdose deaths and one person dies from an overdose every 10 hours. They have a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program in place that regulates prescribing healthcare providers to ensure they're distributing drugs safely. This is essential considering America's dependence on prescriptions. Every city is doing its own work towards trying to tackle the opioid crisis. However, many blame pharmaceutical companies for the crisis, hence the monitoring programs in an attempt to regulate distribution.

There are also many organizations doing their part to improve the addiction crisis. The American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence is a charity targeting access to treatment and the overprescription of opioid medication. 78% of their funding goes to funding programs and advocacy initiatives.

Suggestions for Lawmakers

Public lawmakers can do so much more to address the opioid crisis and limit the negative impacts it has on families. Although growth-rates of opioid-related deaths have decreased since the Trump administration came into power, they could still better address the crisis. One way to remedy the issue would be to invest more money into opioid addiction treatment. Putting funds into expanding Medicare so that more people have insurance to help cover the cost of treatment could help too.

Another suggestion for lawmakers would be to create more awareness about Good Samaritan Laws. In some states, people who try to seek help with their addiction are sometimes arrested for drug possession. Good Samaritan laws protect addicts seeking care from being arrested and awareness about these laws could help more addicts seek help in the midst of a crisis.

Providing better access to family counseling is another solution lawmakers should consider. Making counselors more accessible could help those who have financial limitations and thus, can't afford it on their own. Not only do counselors help with recovery, but they also help with relapse prevention which is crucial as addiction is a lifelong disease. To prevent relapses, counselors may identify causes and triggers of addiction. Chronic pain can lead to severe psychological issues if it's not treated properly. Instead, these issues are often treated with prescription medications that are primed for addiction in the first instance, they could suggest better coping mechanisms to manage such pain. Prescription drug monitoring programs could also limit access to opioids as well.

Addicts should also have access to substance abuse social workers who are trained to provide help specific to a variety of additions. Families affected by addiction should also receive better access to counseling.

Families are being destroyed every day and many preventable deaths occur because of a lack of access to treatment for addiction. However, the level of awareness being created through research and information sharing will hopefully influence lawmakers to do more to save American families from the hold of addiction.

Posted by jhamilton at December 10, 2019 9:11 AM
Comment #451542
… since the Trump administration came into power, they could still better address the crisis.
Most Fentanyl is now coming from Mexico (while a lot is still coming from China too).

Unfortunately many Democrats are calling for open-borders, more sanctuary cities, more sanctuary states, the abolishment of ICE, ignore 2,000 homicides per year by non-citizens, ignore crime by criminal non-citizens, and have been pandering to illegal immigrants, and encouraging more illegal immigration, which despicably pits U.S. citizens and illegal immigrants against each other, in the Democrats’ pursuit of more votes, money, power, and control.

Also, IF anyone is genuinely serious about finding more money for this problem, they should look at the massive $275 Billion per year ($0.75 Billion per day!) due to illegal immigration, which does not even include the untold cost of 2,000 thoudand homicdes per year and many thousands of victims of crime per year by criminal non-citizens (at rates that are HIGHER than crime rates of u.S. citizens). When Democrats try to deceive you with the claim that illegal immigrants commit fewer crimes than U.S. citizens (per capita), they do not average it across only the 10 states with 90% of all illegal immigrants (40% in California and Texas alone)!
Have you noticed fewer and fewer claims of less crime by criminal non-citizens than by U.S. citizens? That’s because it’s a lie that was perpetuated by Democrats for decades.

Yet, many Demorats are pandering to illegal immigrants, and making promises of all sorts of free stuff, including jhealthcare for illegal immigrants too (who already receive plenty of free stuff).

Posted by: d.a.n at December 11, 2019 3:34 PM
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