In cases of child custody with drug addiction, child protective services will move swiftly to remove a minor from harms way. Youngsters under the care of a primary caregiver suspected of substance abuse can easily become victims of domestic violence, predatory sexual exploitation, or even human trafficking. That is because addiction to prescription or illegal street drugs causes normally sane adults to do despicable and unthinkable things, especially to minors in their care. A chemically-dependent custodial parent or guardian is incapable of exercising sound judgment and may be unaware of their surroundings. A minor left in the care of an adult under the influence is in jeopardy of being injured physically or emotionally. "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matthew 18:6).
Signs of child custody with drug addiction may be frequent or unexplained absences from school, an unkempt appearance, clothing that is dirty or worn repeatedly, or unexplained bruising, cuts or other injuries. School officials may notice signs of abuse when minors complain of being hungry or seem unusually quiet, lackluster, or sullen. Children in abusive situations may become withdrawn and introverted, refusing to play with other kids or shrinking from adults who may try to get too close. Some kids may begin hoarding food or stealing just to survive. Older children may seem overly protective of younger siblings left in their care, or may become secretive or evasive when asked about parents or the home environment.
Child custody with drug addiction also puts kids in danger of becoming substance abusers themselves. Some adults use children to traffic drugs, hiding illegal substances in a child's book bag or clothing. They unwittingly or knowingly put minors in harms way by using kids to interact with hardened criminals, gang bangers, dope dealers, prostitutes, and society's most undesirable elements. Dealers may use children to sell drugs on school playgrounds or entice innocent ones to begin using crack cocaine or prescription drugs. Once hooked, unscrupulous adults enslave minors and teens, forcing them to sell their bodies to support a monstrous habit. Teenage runaways are often the victims of drug addiction and violence. "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body" (I Corinthians 6:9-13).
Children may endure years of abuse in cases of child custody with drug addiction, escaping to the streets only to find themselves abused to a greater degree by another adult. Pimps often seize the opportunity to misuse runaway girls and boys to traffic prostitution by offering them the promise of security or affection. Too often, predatory adults take advantage of a child's innocence and trust, placing kids in jeopardy of degradation and further neglect. Other youngsters may become part of a national or international slave trade, shipped to other countries around the world for sexual exploitation.
The solution to child custody with drug addiction is for responsible adults, such as teachers, clergymen, neighbors or relatives, to play a more proactive role in detecting drug abuse. Suspected cases of addiction should be reported to child protective agencies so that minors can be removed from the home pending an investigation. School aged youngsters that appear neglected, abused, or hungry should be seen by the school's attending nurse or social worker; and a determination made as to the cause of a child's apparent neglect. Adults should never become too complacent to get involved when child custody with drug addiction is suspected. Parents who are under the influence of illegal street or prescription drugs can get help through various agencies. Public health officials, nonprofit faith-based organizations, or social services agencies offer no- or low-cost programs to help individuals overcome substance abuse. Social workers may intervene and temporarily place minors in the custody of foster parents or family members until the custodial parent can regain control over substance abuse issues. While in foster care, many children have the opportunity to live in a better environment, attend school, and receive the proper nutrition and emotional care in which to thrive.
Every boy and girl deserves the chance to reach their fullest potential in life, but child custody with drug addiction robs them of the opportunity. If more adults in the public and private sector would not only become alert to the plight of neglected children, but also dare to become active advocates; children in America and around the world would have a better chance at becoming productive members of society. No one can afford to turn away from a problem that has the potential to cause innocent victims to be injured or suffer the loss of their lives. The fight against child custody with drug addiction starts with one person who is willing to help parents who are incapable of raising youngsters because of chemical abuse. Programs exist in every city, state and nation to combat addiction, but it is ultimately up to caring individuals to make a difference in the life of a child and the parent by becoming more involved.