Friday, October 16, 2009

Childhood Epidemic

Last week I baptized our 8 year old daughter Makenna. I recall vividly as she came down the hall in her brand new white dress, smiling from ear to ear. She looked like an angel. In one moment it seemed that all the hopes and dreams I have ever had for her came flooding into my mind. How would she do in school? Would she go to college? My heart ached at the heartbreak she would inevitably feel. I wondered if she would meet and fall in love with someone who saw her as the same beautiful princess I have always seen.

Recently Keystone Recovery met and counseled with a mother and her daughter. The daughter's face revealed a once beautiful young girl who's body and face showed the ravages of long term Methamphetamine use. She was a young girl who's parents probably had the same dreams and hopes for their daughter that I had for mine. And yet thy found themselves wrapped up in the nightmare of their daughter's drug addiction.

In a 2009 study done by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated that 1.9 million school-aged children and adolescents met the criteria for abuse of, or dependence on, alcohol or illicit drugs. Of these, an estimated 1 million children used illicit drugs. 1.4 million used alcohol, and 518,000 were dependent on both. Finally of the entire 1.9 million children 17 years old or younger who are abusing drugs and/or alcohol, only 134,000 or 7% of those received any kind of treatment. Sadly, that means that 93% of our school aged children do not receive the help or treatment they need for drug or alcohol abuse addiction.

We have an epidemic in this country. Drug, alcohol and pornography addiction ravages through lives and destroys families. Often in the middle of an addictive cycle both the addict and their family have feelings of hopelessness and despair. But addiction can be overcome. With the proper tools combined with hard work and persistence - long-term recovery is possible. However, in order to defeat this epidemic we, as parents must educate ourselves. We must become more involved in our children's lives. We must be aware of the signs of possible drug or alcohol abuse. With the proper education and intervention we can keep our children safe from the dangers of drug use. With love, persistence and the proper treatment we can reclaim our children from the horrors of current drug addiction.

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