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Home > The social and psychological needs of children of drug users: report on exploratory study.

Hogan, Diane (1997) The social and psychological needs of children of drug users: report on exploratory study. Dublin: Children's Research Centre.

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This report presented the findings of stage one of a two-stage project on the children of opiate users in the Dublin area. It was a qualitative study involving 10 families, in which one or both parents were opiate users. The research was carried out against a backdrop of evidence of increasing numbers of children, particularly in the Dublin area, being exposed to parental drug addiction. The author stated that issues surrounding the social and psychological effects on children of parental drug use had largely gone unresearched in Ireland, as previously the focus had been on the physical effects of prenatal exposure to drugs.

In this study, half the children had been prenatally exposed to opiates, while all had been indirectly affected either through changes in parental behaviour or through separation from or loss of parents. The majority of children experienced difficulty at school, although only one child in the sample had received treatment for psychological or behavioural problems. Parents were found to have concerns about the provision of adequate care for their children, their social interactions with their children, and the atmosphere that their involvement with drugs created in the home. Key workers expressed concern about the quality of care-giving which drug misusing parents were capable of providing to their children, and about children witnessing drug use and drug paraphernalia in their homes.


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