Article Review Illegal drug abuse is “disproportionately associated with poverty, increased family stress, and neighborhoods plagued by instability, decay, and crime” (Schroeder & Fals-Stewart, 2006, p. 10). However, drug abuse tends to affect people of all socioeconomic status, race, age, and gender. The economic effect of substance abuse is estimated at $414 billion in 2001, and $109.9 billion is drug use (Schneider Institute, 2001). Drug abuse affects the drug user, the family, the job, and the very life of the abuser. The negative effect of drug abuse on family members is serious enough that there are many support groups available to family members of drug
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Drug abusers can become violent and nonconforming. The family of the drug abuser can approach the problem in three ways: “1) either engaging directly with the problem, 2) tolerating the problem, or 3) withdrawing from the substance-abusing family member” (Usher & O’Brien, 2006, p. 211). When the family structure is negatively affected by drug use, the relationships begin to suffer. There are trust issues which are difficult to repair. Adolescent drug users need to find ways to get the drugs and will resort to stealing money or property from parents or siblings. There can be violence associated with drug use, such as a sibling screaming at the drug user or the drug user screaming at the sibling. Frustration and tempers will rise, and this further breaks down the family structure. The financial impact on families to seek assistance for the adolescent drug abuser can further strain the relationship. When the drug abuser is sent to a medical facility for rehabilitation and continues to use drugs, the family can accommodate this so many times. The stigma of drug abuse can often lead families to not seek support or help for the drug abuser. This exasperates the problem and results in further abysmal to the drug abuser.
Resources for Family Members of