U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Drug Addiction Causes Child Abuse (From Child Abuse: Opposing Viewpoints, P 85-90, 1994, David Bender and Bruno Leone, eds. -- See NCJ-159823)

NCJ Number
R Harris
Date Published
6 pages
Drug addiction is a leading cause of child abuse; addiction to alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and other drugs by parents makes them less responsible for and more violent toward their children.
The National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse indicates that children cannot escape being affected by the increased use of drugs in society. Schools and welfare agencies must deal with a growing number of children whose two-parent families have been shattered by drug abuse. Overburdened foster care systems deal with a significant number of physically and sexually abused and neglected children, and children represent one of the fastest growing segments of the homeless population. According to a 1990 report by the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, adult drug has has become the dominant characteristic in caseloads of child protective service agencies in 22 States and the District of Columbia. Further, child welfare officials estimate that thousands of abused and neglected children who live with their drug-addicted parents never get help because they do not come to the attention of authorities. The impact of drug abuse on children and the link between drug abuse and child welfare are examined. 1 figure