Monday, August 1, 2011

What is a Drug Endangered Child? What are the signs?

At what point would you stop a child from being struck by a car? Before they walk onto the road right? Well for many children who are in drug endangered homes, the intervention does not occur until AFTER a life endangering situation. Unfortunately, too late in many cases.

What if we could intervene before a serious incident occurs? What if we could recognize the signs and symptoms of a drug endangered child and help protect that child and get guardians the help they need? I guarantee, there is not a first responder out there who would not jump on the opportunity to help before it is too late.

The good new is we can intervene before it is too late. How? Well first we define what is a "drug endangered child".

The National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children defines drug endangered children as: "Children who are at risk of suffering physical or emotional harm as a result of illegal drug use, possession, manufacturing, cultivation, or distribution. They may also be children whose caretaker’s substance misuse interferes with the caretaker’s ability to parent and provide a safe and nurturing environment."

Whether we are first responders, family, or friends; here are a few signs to look for that endanger a child. These signs, when taken in totality, may constitute a drug endangered environment and a danger to a child:

1. Is the residence cluttered?
2. Is there garbage overflowing or scattered throughout the house?
3. Are there dirty dishes scattered on the counter and throughout the house?
4. Is there spoiled or moldy food?
5. Is the a lack of food in the home?
6. Is there pornography accessible to children?
7. Is there drug paraphernalia accessible to children?
8. Are there adults in the home under the influence?
9. Is there a methamphetamine lab or associated chemicals in the residence?
10. Is there feces in other rooms not including the bathroom?
11. Is prescription medication accessible to children?
12. Are there physical injuries to children (child abuse)?
13. Are there untreated medical issues?
14. Is there a lack of heating or cooling in the home?
15. Are the utilities not working?

Again, you may need to consider the totality of the home conditions-not just one indicator (minus the obvious availability of illegal drugs).

To learn more attend a tuition-free training on prescription drug abuse and drug endangered children, join us in Rapid City on August 17-18. To register online click here, or email us at, or call 202-543-8181.

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