The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA) will be observing its Children of Alcoholics (COA) Week from February 10-16, 2013. COA Week “celebrates the recovery of the many thousands of children (of all ages) who have received the help they needed to recover from the pain and losses suffered in their childhood, and it offers hope to those still suffering from the adverse impact of parental alcohol and drug addiction.” (SAMHSA)
According to the NACOA,
- it is estimated that one in four children in the United States under age 18 is hurt by family alcohol abuse or alcoholism, and that countless others are affected by parental drug use.
- there is strong scientific evidence that alcoholism runs in families with children of alcoholics being 2 to 4 times more likely to develop alcoholism than children of non-alcoholics.
- young children of alcoholics exhibit symptoms of depression and anxiety to a greater extent than children of non-alcoholics; and incur increasing health care costs and experience more life problems over the lifespan.
- young children of alcohol or drug dependent parents often have difficulty in school and are more likely to be truant, drop out of school, repeat grades, or be referred to a school counselor or psychologist.
- children of addicted parents, with interest and support from family, friends, health professionals, teachers, clergy, and others, can avoid the negative effects of familial alcoholism and drug dependence.
“Home is what most children consider a safe environment, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. It is essential that children currently living in the difficult situation of parental alcohol addiction know that there are resources out there to help them and that there are individuals out there who are in recovery from the situation and are living healthy and full lives,” stated Joseph DeMarzo, CTC Coalition Co-Chairperson. “The Youth Bureau offers Pegasus, which is a free and confidential program for children ages 6 to 14 who have a parent or family member suffering from alcoholism or other drug dependency. Pegasus is an eight week program held twice a year that offers information, support and hope to both children and families. For more information, please call us at (845) 808-1600 ext. 46126.”
“We support and spread the word on this observance because we don’t want those who need the encouragement the most to fall through the cracks. An average of 40 percent of individuals at each of Putnam County outpatient treatment providers (Putnam Family and Community Services, Arms Acres, and St. Christopher’s Inn) report that they were a child of an alcoholic or substance abuser. This doesn’t mean all children of alcoholics will repeat their parent’s behavior, but it does prove that there is a correlation and we need to help those struggling now so they know they aren’t alone” stated Elaine Santos, Putnam County CTC Coalition Coordinator.
The Putnam County Communities That Care (CTC) Coalition is an anti-drug coalition that works to build a safe and healthy family-oriented community, which includes reducing the use of harmful substances by our adolescents. It is composed of individuals from all sectors of the community who work together to reduce risk factors and strengthen protective factors through education, enforcement and policy initiatives.
Members of Putnam CTC Coalition are available if you have any questions or would like for us to do a presentation to your organization on this or any other substance abuse trends that affect our children. Please call 845-225-4646, ext. 13 for further information. Please visit and join us on Facebook by searching “Putnam County Communities That Care Coalition– NY” or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/PutnamCTCNY or call 845-225-4646.