Inside the black hole of drug abuse, our vision is warped. We see things that aren’t there. We don’t see things that are right in front of us. We lose perspective and no longer know what we are capable of.
In this place of darkness, effective parenting isn’t tough - it’s impossible.
Parenting Under the Influence
Deep within this chasm of drug abuse and addiction, parents can no longer be of service to their children. Under the influence, they may fool themselves into thinking they are doing “okay,” but this is light years from true. What’s right in front of them is that their children are in grave danger. What they don’t see is that, in the presence of drug use, good parenting is gone. What’s left is pain, neglect, and sometimes, death.
No longer capable of properly parenting, moms and dads under the influence are, instead, capable of the unthinkable:
Case #1 Drug Trade: Toddler for Cocaine
In Alabama, 24-year-old Shaunetta Wright was arrested after trading her son to her dealer as payment for drugs. According to reports, Wright approached her dealer with no money. She offered him her child as collateral – just until her welfare check came in at the first of the month. At the time, her toddler was screaming in pain. Why? Wright had allowed her boyfriend to etch a full chest tattoo across his torso. Mom was showing off the new tat to the dealer as she worked on her trade.
Taking compassion on the child, the dealer accepted the trade, took the child in and applied Neosporin and ice packs, then called the police to get the boy help.
Case #2 Death Ride: Car Seat Doesn’t Stop OD
A police officer in Ohio likely saved a four-year-old’s life after pulling over a swerving Ford Explorer. Up front were two very high adults, one of them the child’s mother. When the Explorer screeched to a stop by a school bus, the officer approached. He immediately noticed the driver’s head bobbing and found his speech to be nearly indecipherable. The officer also saw a woman slumped over in the passenger seat, unconscious and unresponsive. The two were in the throes of heroin overdose.
That’s when the officer noticed a 4-year-old in the back seat. Paramedics revived the two adults with Narcan and took them to the hospital - both face criminal charges. The young boy was placed in county children’s services. With drug use in their lives, it's impossible for parents to focus on their children like they should.
Case #3 Naked in the Streets: Where Were Mom and Dad?
Police in Tulsa received a call that a child was running naked in the street. They soon picked up the 3-year-old and immediately started a search for his parents. Moments later, a sleepy-eyed babysitter emerged from a nearby home to tell police a child was missing. Authorities quickly confirmed this "missing" child was, in fact, the same naked and roaming 3-year-old. Upon entering the house to speak with the child’s parents, officers smelled (and saw) marijuana and drug paraphernalia. A warranted search revealed marijuana plants growing in the bedroom and a stolen 9mm firearm.
While these stories don’t exactly have happy endings, at least there is hope for the children involved. Their stories end better than the following:
Case #4 Meth Camper: Lethal Surroundings
When a couple from New Hampshire called 911 to report an unconscious infant, the end result was nothing short of tragic. Upon entering the couple's camper, authorities found a tiny infant who was no longer breathing. The baby boy was rushed to the hospital, where he was soon pronounced dead. Police said a 2-year-old child was also living in the trailer.
Officers on the scene noticed drug paraphernalia scattered about the camper and obtained a search warrant. They found packages of methamphetamine and evidence of drug sales. The couple faces charges for drug possession and endangering the welfare of a child. No charges have been filed in connection with the death of the infant, but the investigation is still open.
Case #5 Heroin Nap: She Never Woke Up
Two parents in Utah were arrested after their one-year-old daughter died from heroin ingestion. Police reported that Mom called 911 when she found the child unresponsive after putting her down for a nap. The child was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. It was discovered she had ingested enough heroin to kill an adult. Police found enough evidence to establish probable cause that Mom and Dad were responsible for their death of their child.
The Innocent Victims of Addiction
Here's the truth of the matter: It’s children who pay the price when their parents abuse drugs.
Did any of these parents think they would lose their child? Probably not. Do similar stories occur every day across the country? Yes. Will these stories shake parents to their core and prevent future substance abuse? We can only hope.
Image Source: iStock