Drug abuse denotes excessive substance use, including alcohol, prescription drugs, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other illegal drugs. Although drug abuse is a personal experience, it affects families and society. Drug abuse is a major social problem affecting both developed and developing countries. Below is how drug abuse affects families.
Drug abuse creates irresponsible parents and dysfunctional families. Drug addiction causes parents to neglect children because they are busy sourcing illegal drugs instead of providing for the family. Such parents spend more time in drug dens and return home extremely high and disoriented. They are less likely to fulfill parental responsibilities such as providing food, clothing, and education. Children are neglected and forced to take care of themselves, including finding meals and clothes.
Drug addiction leads to domestic violence and child abuse. Parents who abuse drugs are prone to violence and subject family members to physical altercations, especially when a disagreement arises. For example, drug-addicted fathers physically abuse their wives and children when they complain about the lack of financial support. The emotional and mental health of children who grow up in such families is compromised, undermining their social development and interpersonal skills. Families with drug abuse problems experience regular domestic violence and fights.
Drug abuse affects family finances. Drugs are not cheap, and users spend substantial amounts to support the drug addiction problem. Drug addicts divert the money allocated for utilities, food, clothing, and rent to drug purchases, leaving a family without enough finances to sustain a decent living standard. For example, due to drug addiction, a family might be forced to move out of a house to a small two-bedroom apartment. Moreover, drug abuse affects family finances by causing someone to lose their job. Drug users are prone to termination due to poor job performance and absenteeism. Lost income creates financial hardships in a family, especially when the terminated individual is the primary breadwinner.
Parents who abuse drugs are rarely present in their children’s life. Children in such families do not receive moral support and guidance, increasing the likelihood of indulging in immoral and unlawful activities. Lack of parent’s direction in a daughter’s life contributes to early pregnancies, forced marriages, drug use, or prostitution. On the other hand, missing moral support in a young man’s life contributes to involvement in crime and drug addiction. Drug abuse destabilizes families.
Children who abuse drugs are prone to poor academic performance and school dropout. Drug use undermines student’s concentration and performance in class, rendering them unable to complete course assignments and pass exams. Studies show that drug abuse among students is associated with poor performances and consequent dropout. Drugs affect users’ memory, which is detrimental to students because they require an excellent memory to capture and analyze reading materials. Poor academic performance and school dropout negatively impact a family’s mental wellbeing considering that parents have high hopes for their children.
Drug abuse creates an emotional burden on a family. Family members experience depression, anger, embarrassment, and frustration when a relative ruins his or her life by abusing drugs and not caring about the impact it has on others. For example, a child may feel embarrassed by a father who is busy abusing drugs and not providing for the family. Such a child compares their father to other responsible parents, causing them to feel angry and frustrated. Likewise, parents are depressed, angry, and embarrassed when their child drops out of school due to drug addiction while other students record better grades and pursue career goals.
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