Special Topic Paper

One main issue this article talks about is the huge increase of children younger than 18 having a parent addicted to opioids (Williams & Devooght, 2017). The article mentions a survey conducted from 2002 to 2007 that researched and concluded over two million children are watching at least one parent or guardian have a drug addiction which includes opioids. It goes on to mention how this can have a negative impact on families and the health of children (Williams & Devooght, 2017).

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Another main point that the article is how a growing portion of children entering foster care is due to malnutrition which can be caused by opioid addiction. With lack of basic care, children aren’t able to grow and develop the way they are supposed to (Williams & Devooght, 2017). Opioids are the new type of drugs to watch out for. They come in many different forms and some can even be prescribed by doctors. Some of the different types are oxycodone and heroin. Over the past two decades, opioid use has been increasing significantly due to how easily accessible these drugs can be. The last main point the article makes is how states are trying to deal with this increase in use due to the rising population of children struggling due to parental opioid abuse. Some states are taking a legal stand which hopes to help scare parents and guardians to not let children suffer by their mistakes. Other states have made sure doctors do no overprescribe the amount given and shorten prescription periods to limit the chances of becoming addicted (Williams & Devooght, 2017). Last, a new idea is to help with reunifying families about being brought apart by opioid addiction to help children focus on growing up and just lets them be kids.

In the book, (Berk, 2018) states that harm can be done to families caused by environmental factors as early as the germinal period of a fetus. These factors can include drug abuse which can then cause a baby once born to be addicted to the drug the mother was using. This can especially be harmful to the unborn babies in the embryonic stage. If a baby is born addicted, it can cause a lifetime of problems including developmental and cognitive issues (Berk, 2018). (Berk, 2018) also states that children born into families with opioid or any drug addiction, can cause problems of development for the child. They might not get the proper care and nutrition which can hurt the child. It also adds unnecessary stress to the child having to worry if their parent is going to be ok. When children are younger, it can be hard for them to speak up and let someone else know what is going on, so they aren’t able to find help for themselves (Berk, 2018). A statistic shown in the book talks about how over five percent of women take drugs that include opioids (). These mother then in turn have children in a state of mind that isn’t healthy for the developing environment of a baby and they aren’t to give the child simple needs like breast milk.

The information in the book, (), is similarly talked about in the article but not exact (Williams & Devooght, 2017). The article focused more on opioids and how they are affecting families and children, as in the book it talked more about what factors in general can be affecting a child’s development. Berk (2018) didn’t go into much detail about the drug aspect of development other than it can cause developmental differences among children growing up in a healthy environment. One connection is how Berk (2018) states how parents addicted to drugs can affect development which Williams & Devooght (2017), states how more children are being brought into foster care due to parental drug abuse. Another connection in Williams & Devooght (2017), it expands on topics discussed by Berk (2018) and relates it back to statistics to show how greatly this epidemic is hurting the younger population.

Children of parents addicted to drugs, specifically opioids, are at more risk for harmful development. This can cause children to have more stress to their lives causing them to not live as properly or be engaged in social settings. Also, it can lead to a greater chance the child of the parent addicted to participate in drug use passing it onto another generation (Berk, 2018). Children can think of the drug use as normal which makes their living situations unhealthier. They could even start using drugs earlier than other children. The child’s development is negative while growing up in these situations. The child’s family functioning can be irregular not allowing a child to have a stable environment to feel safe which has a negative on them (Berk, 2018). Development of children can be delayed if the parent addicted cannot help the child with simple functions to get them through the delay and if the parent doesn’t help the child reach development milestones while younger. The family as a unit can be distant due to a parent addicted to drugs (Berk, 2018). This can lead to more fighting between parents when one or both are struggling with addiction. Also, the parents could be focusing on other things like drugs instead of caring for the children which can add to negative development between a parent and child or children. If parents seek help for drug addictions, it can cause a delayed progression to reunification in the family unit. That means the child will have to cope on their own before fully accepting the parent back into their life (Berk, 2018). With more states working to stop the growing amount of addiction, there can be a brighter end of the tunnel when they find methods for keeping children and families safe as this growing epidemic breaks more families apart (Williams & Devooght, 2017).

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