When Kids are Exposed to Drugs at Home

Parents who used drugs or alcohol before they started their own families may be tempted to continue that drug use around their children. They might justify their drug use on the premise of earning or deserving a break after a hard day, or on the theory that their children will be exposed to drug use among friends and they will be better off if they learn how to use drugs “responsibly”. Alternately, some parents might give no thought to using drugs around their children, or they may be so addicted to drugs or alcohol that they cannot stay away from those substances even when their children are present. In all cases, those children who are exposed to drugs and drug use in their homes will be at a statistically higher risk of using illicit drugs as they get older and of becoming addicted to drugs at earlier ages.

Parents who use drugs or alcohol to soothe the stresses of a hard day are implicitly teaching their children that substances are an appropriate response to stress. Those children will be less likely to learn healthy or productive stress management techniques, and will instead rush to a bottle or some other substance when their lives grow increasingly stressful through their adolescent years. Parents who use marijuana in front of or even with their children are impairing their development and placing them at a severe disadvantage as they grow into young adulthood.

Statistics are very clear on the effects of exposing kids to drugs in their homes. Adults are significantly more likely to succumb to substance addictions themselves if they saw their parents or caregivers using substances or they first used drugs in their homes while they were growing up. A very large portion of the more than two millions individuals who are incarcerated in the United States suffered some form of abuse or neglect in their homes, much of which was connected to drug use or dealing. This does not suggest that all kids who are exposed to drugs in their homes will later have a life of crime, but that drug use and exposure does put children on a dangerous path.


If you believe you or someone you know is putting their child in danger due to drug and alcohol addiction, we can help. Smarmore Castle Private Clinic is Dublin’s premiere residential treatment programme, restoring patients to optimum health of mind, body, and spirit. For information, call us today: +353 41 214 5111

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