MIAMI (CBS4) – A sobering statistic from a new study: more than one in ten U.S. children live with an alcoholic parent.

That’s seven-and-a-half-million children who come home from school every day, not knowing what in what condition they’ll find their mom or dad.

We were painfully reminded of the horror of substance abuse and its effect on children by Whitney Houston’s death and the hospitalization, soon thereafter, of her eighteen year old daughter.

We don’t know what killed Houston yet, but there’s little doubt her body was ravaged by years of alcohol and drug abuse.

And alcoholics aren’t just destroying themselves… they’re destroying those around them.

The new study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows children living with alcoholics were at greater risk of suffering from a number of mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.

They were also four times more likely to be alcoholics themselves, and more likely to be abused, neglected and have learning deficiencies.

That’s not surprising, given the horrors of home life with an alcoholic.

It’s long past time for something to be done to protect our children from this disease which has become such a  scourge.


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