Dangerous trend could lead to a new generation of addicted parents

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Girl using e-cigarette (WINK News)

Millions of Americans deal with substance abuse every year, but it’s not just the users who suffer the consequences.

We’re talking about the children who live in homes where drug and alcohol is a problem with the adults who are supposed to be taking care of them.

WINK News reporter Channing Frampton spoke with a recovering addict from Lee County who is worried about a dangerous new trend and how it could lead to a whole new generation of addicted parents.

“It started like I think it does for a lot of people: with marijuana in high school,” said Brittany Hargrove.

She shared her experience with addiction and the dangerous road it led her down.

“Ended up addicted to pain pills,” she said. “When you can’t afford that…I turned to heroin on the street.”

After an arrest, some time in jail and a treatment program, she turned her life around. She’s been sober since January 2013.

But now, she’s worried that vaping could lead thousands of other teens down that dangerous road.

“I don’t think it’s ever appropriate for an under-developed mind to have access to those things,” said Hargrove, worried that a nicotine addiction could turn into something more.

“Here comes another generation. Where does this stop,” she asked.

Jerry Moe is the national director for children’s programs at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. He spoke at Riverside Church with community leaders about the effects addiction has on children growing up with parents who are hooked.

“It’s a nightmare for boys and girls,” he said.

And, it’s a big problem. In fact, one-third of kids in the U.S. live in a family where alcohol or drug addiction is a problem.

“The number one, at-risk group of boys and girls in America who could get addicted are children who come from families where it’s there,” said Moe.

Which is why he’s telling parents who are addicted now: “The greatest gift we can ever give our children is a safe place where they can heal. Work on your own recovery.”

A message Hargrove echoes as she works to help other adults dealing with addiction. “Treat the disease while loving the person,” she says.

On Monday evenings, a Caring Families group is hosted at Golisano Children’s Hospital. It’s presented by Lee Health and Hazelden and is for people who have a loved one dealing with addiction. If you’d like to get involved, you can visit their website HERE. 

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