Kids in Shadow of Addiction Are Helping One Another

  • March 09, 2016
  • Source WHYY News - Philadelphia, PA
  • Author Anne Hoffman
  • Type News
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Photo: WHYY

Kids in Shadow of Addiction Are Helping One Another

By Anne Hoffman, WHYY, Philadelphia, PA

Substance abuse can create chaos and upheaval for adults, but for the children in their lives, the effects can do long-lasting harm.

More than 12 percent of children in the U.S. live with an addict, and they are at a higher risk of developing an addiction themselves or committing suicide later in life.

At Philadelphia's Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services, a new pilot program is bringing together kids who live with an addicted family member to provide support and foster resiliency.

A group of kids, between the ages of 9 and 12, sit together with a therapist to talk about how to recognize if somebody is suicidal. Some squirm in their chairs, while others sit still but stare off. All of them have something in common: Someone in their family has a problem with drugs and alcohol.

"I didn't cause," say the kids in unison. "I can't control it. I can't cure it. But I can take care of myself."

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