Welcome back and thanks for joining us again as we discuss the complex issue of substance abuse and how it affects parenting and results in CPS intervention. For many parents who are trapped in the cycle of drug use which can perpetuate poor parenting choices which then leads to CPS intervention that harms more than it helps, it can feel like a trap. With no way out and no help coming, they are overwhelmed, frightened, and often turn to further drug use to help with the fear and pain and stress. It can become a downward spiral that results in the tragedy of children being taken from their homes. So what can be done to change this?
As we mentioned in the previous article, Dr. Mark Calarco who is the national medical director of American Addiction Centers, believes that in order for us to really address the issue of addiction, four things need to change. People, Cause, Stigma and Media. If we can overcome those four issues, we can make some real progress in eliminating addiction, which in turn will leave far less CPS intervention, and a lot less damaged families. So let’s take a look at the first one on the list…
According to Dr. Calarco, ‘the people’ in this instance are the ones struggling with substance abuse. For the most part, society sees addicts as ‘dirty.’ Hollywood perpetrates the notion that addicts congregate in abandoned houses, where they share needles and other drug paraphernalia, and pass out in pools of their own vomit and urine. They’re often depicted as being sick, malnourished, and desperate. They’d do anything for that next hit, including stealing, lying and sometimes trading sexual favors for drugs. We’re not saying this doesn’t happen, just that it isn’t the full picture.
Think about the huge number of pop culture icons and celebrities who have died of drug overdoses and you’ll realize that society often misrepresents those struggling with addiction. Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Cory Monteith, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Prince are a tiny sample of the rich and famous whose struggle with substance abuse cost them their lives. Lives that were not in any way ‘dirty’, ‘disheveled’ or ‘desperate.’
According to Dr. Calarco, we need to change the way we view the people who struggle with addiction, or we will never be able to address this subject out in the open. Until we Michiganders can see individuals who struggle with drug addiction as valuable people who desperately need help and care, Calarco says we’ll never be able to obliterate this scourge on our society. Drug users, he reminds us, are people just like you and your loved ones. The only difference is, they are fighting a terrible battle without the necessary weaponry or defenses to succeed.
As if that isn’t bad enough, their struggle might end up costing them their families as well. The state may decide that they can no longer care for their children, and then CPS steps in to tear apart their families. This is complicated by the fact that CPS workers assigned to families often use the private information that parents share with them about their struggles, as ammo against them in court. So a mom struggling with alcohol addiction, or a dad using drugs to cope with physical pain, could share this information with their assigned CPS worker, only to late have it used against them in court.
Join us next time, as we look at the next two factors that would need to change in the public perspective in order for us to have a chance at combatting drug use and unnecessary CPS intervention in the future. Until then, if you or a loved one have been accused of child abuse or neglect, contact us immediately at 866-766-5245. The CPS defense attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have decades of experience protecting and defending the families of Michigan. So call us today. We are here to help.