Children Born Addicted

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by MarinaDeLuca
Last updated 6 years ago

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Children Born Addicted

Clearwater, Floridaby Marina DeLuca

Addiction to alcohol, prescription and street drugs has a ravaging effect on families and communities. Communities suffer with less reliable workforce members, increases in crime, and increased mental health problems. But even worse and more heart wrenching is the number of newborn children who must endure the the horrors of withdrawal in their first moments, weeks, and months of life. In Pinellas County newborns suffering withdrawal was already in the triple digits in 2009. These numbers continued to climb in 2010.

These sad facts were taken from Pinellas County Healthy Start Coalition(2011) Retrieved

Problem: Children Born Addicted

Effects on CommunityDrug addiction costs society billions of dollars. Healthcare costs, lost wedges, limited work force, increases in crime, and increased diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C. Children who are born already addicted to drugs have a much greater disposition to become an active drug user later in life (National Drug Intelligence Center, 2006). These children also are more prone to emotional and mental disorders, which again ripples out into the community. It has become a priority to decrease the number of women using drugs and alcohol while pregnant. Possible InterventionsOne of the reasons mothers report continued drug use while pregnant is lack of education (Matsche, 2013). All pregnant women should be screened for issue with drug or alcohol abuse. Ensure that the physicians are also educating mothers and providing educational material for them. Early interventions could also have an impact for decreasing women using drugs while pregnant. These interventions could come by why of presentations for middle and high school students. It has been proven that images which illicit an emotional response have a deep and lasting effect on the viewer (Leas, Strong, Hofstetter, & Al-Delaimy, 2015). I would also petition to have laws passed that would hold the mother accountable for child abuse if the child is found to be addicted. I would propose an initiative to education teenagers on the devastating effects that drugs have on unborn children. Through this program a graphic and educational presentation would be shown to students in school. As part of the program a recovered addict who has experienced the consequence of having a child addicted to drugs, would also tell her story. I believe this program could help young women commit to never using drugs while pregnant, or decide to never use drugs at all.

Proposed Community Health Plan

The HomelessThere is an estimated 5,887 homeless people living in Pinellas County. 3,222 are adults, 2,526 are children and 139 are missing (Young & Moore, 2014, p. 7). There are many reasons people become homeless. Some of these reasons include mental illness, domestic violence, disabilities, and substance abuse. Homelessness affects communities economically through increased use of public resources. Due to lack of access to healthcare, people living on the street often leave illnesses untreated until the ailment has reached an emergent level which increases healthcare cost (Bassuk, 2010). Further, defecating and urinating outside and panhandling hurts local businesses as costumers may avoid areas that are heavily populated by homeless. Moreover, homelessness hurts those who suffer from it, especially children, who lose opportunities and are severely tested with chaos and lack of stability (Bassuk, 2010). What is Clearwater Doing about Homelessness?The City of Clearwater has implemented many programs and erected many shelters in order to help improve and care for the large homeless population in the area. There are 27 homeless shelters in Clearwater and the surrounding towns (, 2012). There are different shelters for varying situations. For instance, there is a shelter for adults and children suffering from domestic violence, there is housing for veterans and people with disabilities, and shelters for families (, 2012). The Clearwater Homeless Intervention Project (CHIP) was organized to help implement programs and services to help the homeless. There where great strides made for the years CHIP was functioning but unfortunately, the program was eliminated due to lack of city funding (Harwell, 2012). Luckily, there are other organizations working to help with this problem. Some of these include Catholic Charities, Volunteers of America, Operation Par, and the Homeless Emergency Project.

I live in Clearwater, Florida. The city was established in mid-1830 by colonists and by the 1890’s it was considered a resort community. Clearwater is located on Florida's west-central coast and is noted for its beautiful beaches and active community (, 2014). As of 2014, Clearwater has an estimated population of 110,703 residents (United States Census Bureau, 2015). According to the 2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Profiles, 20.7% of Clearwater residents are uninsured with 16.4% living below poverty levels (United States Census Bureau, 2015). I could not find health statistics for Clearwater, FL but was able to find statistics for Pinellas County which Clearwater in a part of. As of a 2012 survey, Diabetes is the number one cause of hospitalizations, followed by chronic lower respiratory diseases. Lung cancer ranks at the top for cancers, followed by breast cancer and prostate (Florida Department of Health, 2015). Unfortunelty, sexually transmitted disease rates of chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea rank higher in Pinellas County then all the rest of Florida (Pinellas County Community Health Assessment, 2012). Pinellas County also ranks highest in the state of Florida for suicide rates, especially for young men. Addiction to alcohol, street drugs, and prescription drugs was the most reported health concern with Pinellas County residents (Pinella County Community Health Assessement, 2012).

ReferencesBassuk, E. (2010). Ending child homelessness in America. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 80(4), 496-504.Florida Department of Health. (2015). Florida Charts, Pinellas County Health Profile. Retrieved from:, D. (2012). Clearwater says homeless should go to shelters, but most have no space. Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved from:, E.C., Myers, M.G., Strong, D.R., Hofstetter, R., & Al-Delaimy, W.K. (2015). Recall of anti-tobacco advertisements and effects on quitting behavior: Results from the California Smokers Cohort. American Journal of Public Health, 105(2), 90-97. doi: 2079/10.2105/AJPH.2014.302249Matsche, J. (2013). Maternal education and newborn withdrawal project. JOGNN: Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, 42,30. doi: 2079/10.1111/1552-6909.12089 (2014). About Clearwater. Retrieved from: Drug Intelligence Center. (2006). The impact of drugs on society. Retrieved from: County Community Health Assessment. (2012). Pinellas County Community Health Assessment Report of 2012. Retrieved from: County Healthy Start Coalition. (2011). Retrieved from: States Census Bureau. (2015). Quick Facts, Clearwater (city), Florida. Retrieved from:, M.S. & Moore, K.A. (2014). Pinellas County Florida 2014 Point-In-Time housing survey. Retrieved from:


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