The saddest victims of substance abuse are often the children. Current research indicates that 8.3 million children in the United States, approximately 11 percent, live with at least one parent who is in need of treatment for alcohol or drug dependence.
The affects of parental substance abuse are numerous and include emotional distress, isolation, depression, low self-esteem, truancy, delayed psychosocial development, and poor grades. Children living with an addicted parent are also at risk of developing addictions of their own. In fact, children of alcohol-abusing parents are four times more likely than other children of becoming alcoholics themselves, and children of drug-abusing parents are the highest risk group for developing drug addictions.
Another serious effect of parental addiction is child abuse and neglect. Children of a substance-abusing parent are three times more likely to be verbally, physically, or sexually abused and are four times more likely to be neglected. Therefore, addiction can be indirectly detrimental to the health and welfare of the child.