Drug addiction is a significant problem that has a negative impact on the lives of its victims by often rendering them unproductive and impairing their ability to take proper care of themselves. Furthermore, it affects the victim’s family members, especially those that rely on the drug-dependent adult. Barbara and Jonah’s case exemplifies a typical situation where the parent’s drug addiction has a profound effect on the life of the child. Being a mother, Barbara’s influence on her son Jonah, was profound. Apart from causing permanent physical disability to the child at birth, she had the potential to interfere with his/her mental, social and physical development. Considering the parental neglect that Jonah has been subjected to, providing the child with foster care and putting him in the company of other children would help him to develop normally.
Addiction affects every person in the immediate family and sometimes the entire extended family. It impacts negatively on finances, psychological wellbeing, and physical health of the members. In Barbara and Jonah’s case, Jonah’s health was permanently impaired when he was born with physical defects (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). Specifically, he developed two stomachs, with one forming on the exterior part of his abdomen because of his parent’s drug use. The abnormalities were severe and as a result, his future was permanently affected because his stomach will not function normally. In addition, the multiple surgeries and specialized medical treatment early in Jonah’s life led to some financial strain in his family.
The impact of the parent’s addiction on Jonah’s development will be negative due to the adverse effects that they have on his poor health. Significantly, a child’s development depends on the conduct of his immediate mentors and their demonstration of love and care (“Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure “, 2017). Obviously, Jonah’s family environment is not conducive for proper child development. According to Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman (2016), a child whose parents abscond normal duties in the home tends to take on these missing roles. As a result, they may develop a social development problem and acquire unusual behavior such as the “lost child”, “Mascot”, and scapegoat personality disorders. In addition, the child may develop some coping habits that may permanently affect his future behavior.
Considering the neglect that Jonah has already been subjected to, he is likely to assume adult roles and seek to cater for his own needs through stealing, seeking autonomy, and developing a negative attitude towards adults in his childhood years. While these may be necessary habits to enable him to cope with his surrounding conditions, they may set the wrong foundation for a normal development in his adulthood. The physical challenges that Jonah is already experiencing as a result of his stomach deformities my pose an addition challenge to him. In particular, he may view himself as an unfortunate or unlucky child, which may cause him to suffer from depression or dissolution about life. Also, he can lose interest in life and not pursue important matters such as education or self-development.
The appropriate intervention in Barbara and Jonah’s case is to address former’s addiction and financial problems and to provide the missing social and psychological needs the latter (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014). Enrolling Barbara in parenting programs will also help in making her a more responsible parent. While rehabilitation programs can help Barbara to reform, social programs that involve exposing Jonah to caring and responsible caregivers, they will also help the child to develop normally. Specifically, the programs can involve periodical visitations to Jonah by caregivers who will present the necessary care and social bonding to meet the child’s emotional needs (“Key Findings “, 2017). Additionally, Jonah can be enrolled in children care centers where he can interact with his age mates and find companionship. Generally, social wellbeing is important to a child’s normal development and these programs provide him/her with necessary social and psychological conditions for development.
The impact of drug addiction on its victims and family members is best exemplified by Barbara and Jonah’s case. Apart from causing financial strains in the family, addiction causes social and psychological problems. Primarily, the affected member’s production is impaired subjecting them to more financial difficulties, and their poor social relations causes them to abscond their adult roles as parents. Providing rehabilitation to Barbara and social and psychological support to Jonah would help Jonah to develop normally. In this regard, drug addiction should be controlled to avert serious developmental and social issues in children.
Key Findings: Factors Associated with Mental, Behavioral, and Developmental Disorders in
Early Childhood | ADHD | NCBDDD | CDC. (2017). Cdc.gov. Retrieved 6 March 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/features/key-finding-factors-mental-behavioral-developmental-early-childhood.html
Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen S. M. (Eds.). (2014). Social work case studies:
Foundation year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader]. Working With Clients with Addictions: The Case of Barbara and Jonah
Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure Linked With Problems. (2017). Drugabuse.gov. Retrieved
6 March 2017, from http://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2012/12/prenatal-methamphetamine-exposure-linked-problems
Zastrow, C. H., & Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2016). Understanding human behavior and the social
environment (10th ed.)Boston, MA:  Cengage Learning Chapter 2 (pp. 62-111)