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Children of Alcoholics

Children of Alcoholics and Addicts Week: Fact of the Day for Morning Announcements

Children of Alcoholics and Addicts Week is observed every year during the week of February 14, to bring awareness to the needs of these children and to encourage responsible adults to reach out and support these children.

Monday:

One in four youth under age 18 lives in a family where a person abuses alcohol or suffers from alcoholism. Countless others are affected by a family member’s use of drugs. Remember: You are not alone. Lots of teens are in your situation and it’s important to deal with it.

Tuesday:

Addiction to alcohol or drugs is a disease. When one member of the family has this disease, all family members are affected. Remember: It’s not your fault; it’s a disease. You didn’t cause it, and you can’t make it stop. You need and deserve help for yourself.

Wednesday:

Young people with alcohol or drug addicted parents are four times more likely to become addicted if they choose to drink alcohol or use illegal drugs. Remember: You can’t get addicted if you don’t drink or use drugs.

Thursday:

If you are a student affected by a family member’s addiction, talk with an adult who will listen and help you deal with problems at home. Maybe you could talk to a: teacher, school counselor or nurse, a friend’s parent, doctor, grandparent, aunt or uncle, or a neighbor. It is important to find caring adults who can help you. Talking to them really helps.

Friday:

If you are a student affected by a family member’s addiction, join a support group. Groups are great places to meet other young people who are struggling with the same problems at home that you face. Talk with your school counselor to find out more about groups that are offered.*

* You can also highlight our Kids of Promise groups if that is something your school offers. Use the following sentence at the end of this fact: Through our student assistance program here at school we offer a group for students affected by a loved one’s addiction, if you are interested in joining this group please see your guidance counselor.

 

Resources for more information about Children of Alcoholics and Addicts

National Association for Children of Alcoholics

301-468-0985 |  http://www.nacoa.org

The people hurt most by drugs and alcohol don’t even use them: they are the CHILDREN of alcoholics and other drug-dependent parents. The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA) believes that none of these vulnerable children should grow up in isolation and without support. NACoA is the national nonprofit 501(c)3 membership and affiliate organization working on behalf of children of alcohol and drug-dependent parents.

 

SAMHSA

 http://www.samhsa.gov

SAMHSA’s National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information

1-800-729-6686 |  http://ncadi.samhsa.gov

SAMHSA Radio Newsline

1-800-272-7723

The SAMHSA Radio Newsline provides broadcast-ready substance abuse news and public affairs reports. The audio spots feature sound bites from nationally recognized experts in the fields of substance abuse prevention and treatment and the effect of substance abuse on families. Broadcast ready news line reports (usually 60 to 90 seconds) can easily be folded into radio news or public affairs programming, or can serve as a source of quotes and sound bites for your own news coverage.

 

Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator

1-800-662-HELP (4357) |  http://www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov

 

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:

 http://www.niaaa.nih.gov

 

Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.

1-888-4AL-ANON (425–2666) |  http://www.al-anon.alateen.org

 

Adapted from SAMHSA’s “Children of Alcoholics: A Guide to Community Action”.

It’s Not Your Fault!

Hi!
Are you worried that your Mom or Dad drinks too much or uses drugs? You are right to be concerned — about their safety and health, about what will happen to you, about their embarrassing you or criticizing you unfairly, about breaking promises, about driving under the influence, and about lots of other things that create unpredictability and confusion. While you cannot stop your parent from drinking or using drugs, you can take steps to make things better for yourself. 

 

Facts You Should Know

 
   Take care of yourself…

One in four youth under age18 lives in a family where a person abuses alcohol or suffers from alcoholism. Countless others are affected by a family members use of drugs.

  Talk with an adult — maybe a teacher, school counselor or nurse, friends parent, doctor, grandparent, aunt or uncle, or neighbor — who will listen and help you deal with problems at home.
Remember: You are not alone. Lots of teens are in your situation and its important to deal with it.

Addiction to alcohol or drugs is a disease. When one member of the family has this disease, all family members are affected.

 

Join a support group — theyre great places to meet other young people who are struggling with the same problems at home that you face. To find a local support group, talk to your school counselor or social worker.

Remember: Its not your fault; its a disease. You didn’t cause it, and you can’t make it stop. You need and deserve help for yourself.  

Remember: It is important to find caring adults who can help you. Talking to them really helps.

Young people with alcohol- or drug-addicted parents are four times more likely to become addicted if they choose to drink alcohol or use illegal drugs
Remember The Seven Cs
I didn’t Cause it
I can’t  Cure it
I can’t Control it
I can take better Care of myself
by Communicating my feelings,
Making healthy Choices,
  Celebrating myself.
Get involved in activities at school and in the community where you can hang out with other young people, use your special talents and strengths and learn new skills while you are having fun.
Remember: You can’t get addicted if you don’t drink or use drugs.   Remember: Even if the person with the disease doesn’t get help, you can still get the help you need to feel better and to have a safe and productive life.


It's Not

Your Fault!

 

Remember Alateen

Alateen is a group for teens who are affected by someone else’s alcohol or drug use. It holds meetings, like a club, where young people share tips on how to make their lives easier when a family member drinks too much or uses drugs. The meetings are sponsored by Al-Anon. You can find the location of meetings near you by looking in the phone book under Al-Anon or Alateen, or you can ask your school counselor, a clergy member, your doctor, or another adult you trust to help you find meetings near you. Another way to find out about Alateen is by logging onto their Web site at www.alateen.org or by calling toll-free at 1-888-425-2666.

For More Information

You are not alone.
Lots of other teens like you are living in the confusion and chaos caused by alcoholism or drug use in the family.
You deserve help; ask for it!
www.freevibe.com
http://www.nacoa.org/kidspage.htm
www.nacoa.org

 

National Youth
Anti-Drug Campaign 
NACoA
National Association for Children of Alcoholics
11426 Rockville Pike, Suite 301
Rockville, MD 20852 
  

 

Fact Sheet: Children of Alcoholics and Addicts

How many children of alcoholics are there?

• More than 6 million children live with at least one parent who abuses or is dependent on alcohol or an illicit drug.1

Why should we be concerned about children of alcoholics?

• Alcoholism tends to run in families. Children of alcoholics (COAs) are four times more likely than non-COAs to develop alcoholism or drug problems.2

• COAs are at higher risk than others for depression, anxiety disorders, problems with cognitive and verbal skills, and parental abuse or neglect. They are significantly more likely than other children to be abused or neglected by their parents or guardians and are more likely to enter foster care.2, 3, 4, 5

• If not prevented, the difficulties faced by COAs can place increased burdens on State and local Governments. These include increased costs for health care, mental health services, child welfare, education, police and juvenile justice, and lost economic opportunity.

How are families with alcoholism different from other families?

• Families with alcoholism have higher levels of conflict than other families. Lack of adequate parenting and poor home management and family communication skills often leave children without effective training and role modeling.3, 6, 7

• Families with alcoholism often lack structure and discipline for their children; as a result, the children often are expected to take on responsibilities normally assigned to older youth or adults.3,6

How can we help prevent children of alcoholics from repeating their families’ alcohol-related problems?

• Although they are at increased risk, many COAs do not develop alcohol or drug use disorders or other serious problems in their lives. Often, they appear to be resilient, bolstered by protective factors and the support of caring adults in their lives.3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11

• COAs can be helped, whether or not the alcohol-abusing family members are receiving help. Prevention programs often help COAs reduce stress; deal with emotional issues; and develop self-esteem, coping skills, and social support.8

• Children who cope effectively with alcoholism in their families often rely on support from a nonalcoholic parent, grandparent, teacher, or other caring adult. Support groups, faith communities, and trained professionals also are available to help.8, 9

What can others do to help children of alcoholics avoid alcohol abuse and other serious problems?

• Simple acts of kindness and compassion can make a difference for COAs. By making yourself available to listen, discuss feelings, share interests, and support their efforts to make friends, you can help COAs cope with their present situations and develop the resilience and skills necessary for their futures.11

• Tell them they are not alone, that responsible adults are available to help them, and that millions of others have had similar experiences and have grown up to lead healthy, satisfying lives.12

• Remind them that their families’ problems are not their fault and not their responsibility to solve. Their jobs are to be children and help take good care of themselves; learn the facts about alcohol, tobacco, and drugs; recognize their risks; and learn how to avoid repeating their families’ alcohol abuse patterns.10

• Encourage them to ask for help. Assure them that getting help is a sign of strength. Offer your own examples and be prepared to help them connect with caring, trustworthy adults and with student assistance programs and other services designed to provide them with further skill building and support.10

• Reach out to your community by participating in the annual Children of Alcoholics Week during the week of February 14. Help break through the barriers of shame, silence, and isolation to help these children live healthy, happy lives—despite their family problems.

 

References:

(1) Office of Applied Studies. (2002). Results From the 2001 National Survey on Drug Abuse. (DHHS Publication No. SMA 02-3758). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

(2) Grant, B.F. (2000). Estimates of U.S. children exposed to alcohol abuse and dependence in the family. American Journal of Public Health 90(1): 112–115.

(3) National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism. (2000). Alcohol and Health: 10th Special Report to theU.S. Congress. Washington, DC.

(4) National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. (2004). Criminal Neglect:Substance Abuse, Juvenile Justice and the ChildrenLeft Behind. New York.

(5) U.S. General Accounting Office. (1998). Foster Care: Agencies Face Challenges Securing Stable Homes for Children of Substance Abusers. Washington, DC. 

(6) National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism. Alcohol and Health: 9th Special Report to the U.S.Congress. Washington, DC.

(7) Johnson, J.L. & Leff, M. (1999). Children of substance abusers: overview of research findings. Pediatrics 103(5) Supplement: 1085–1099.

(8) Emshoff, J.G. & Price, A.W. (1999). Prevention and intervention strategies with children of alcoholics. Pediatrics 103(5) Supplement: 1112–1121.

(9) Werner, E.E. & Johnson, J.L. (2004). The role of caring adults in the lives of children of alcoholics. Substance Use and Misuse 39(5): 699–720.

(10) Nastasi, B.K. & De Zolt, D.M. (1994). School Interventions for Children of Alcoholics. New York: Guild Press. 

(11) Werner, E.E. & Johnson, J.L. (2000). The role of caring adults in the lives of children of alcoholics. Children of Alcoholics: Selected Readings, Vol. 2.

(12) Dies, R.R. & Burghardt, K. (1991). Group interventions for children of alcoholics: prevention and treatment in the schools. Journal of Adolescent Group Therapy 1(3): 219–234.

 

Adapted from SAMHSA’s “Children of Alcoholics: A Guide to Community Action”.