Families, Students & Youth
"Every 3 minutes a child is arrested for a drug offense."
"According to the 2010 census, there were 74.2 million children in the United States, 1.9 million more than in 2000. This number is projected to increase to 87.8 million in 2030. There were approximately equal numbers of children in three age groups: 0–5 (25.5 million), 6–11 (24.3 million), and 12–17 (24.8 million) years of age in 2009 (the latest data year available by age at time of publication)."Source:Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, "America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2011), p. xiv.
(Importance of Family Dinners in Substance Use Prevention) "Compared to teens who have five to seven family dinners per week, those who have fewer than three family dinners per week are twice as likely to say they expect to try drugs (including marijuana and prescription drugs without a prescription to get high) in the future (17 percent vs. 8 percent)."Source:"The Importance of Family Dinners VIII: A CASAColumbia White Paper," The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (New York, NY: September 2012), p. 7.
(Parental Involvement) "Compared to teens who say their parents know a great deal or a fair amount about what’s really going on in their lives, teens who say their parents know very little or nothing at all are (Figure B):
" One and a half times likelier to have used marijuana (21 percent vs. 13 percent); and
" One and a half times likelier to have used alcohol (40 percent vs. 24 percent)."Source:National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), "The Importance of Family Dinners VIII: A CASAColumbia White Paper," September 2012, p. 20.
(Parents in Prison) "An estimated 809,800 prisoners of the 1,518,535 held in the nation's prisons at midyear 2007 were parents of minor children, or children under age 18. Parents held in the nation's prisons -- 52% of state inmates and 63% of federal inmates -- reported having an estimated 1,706,600 minor children, accounting for 2.3% of the U.S. resident population under age 18."Source:Glaze, Lauren E. and Maruschak, Laura M., "Parents in Prison and Their Minor Children" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, Aug. 2008), NCJ222984, p. 1.
(Children with Parents Behind Bars) "Among white children in 1980, only 0.4 of 1 percent had an incarcerated parent; by 2008 this figure had increased to 1.75 percent. Rates of parental incarceration are roughly double among Latino children, with 3.5 percent of children having a parent locked up by 2008. Among African American children, 1.2 million, or about 11 percent, had a parent incarcerated by 2008."Source:Western , Bruce; Pettit, Becky, "Incarceration & social inequality," Dædalus (Cambridge, MA: American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Summer 2010), p. 16.
(Parents Behind Bars, 2008) "The growth of incarceration in America has intergenerational impacts that policy makers will have to confront. According to this analysis, more than 1.2 million inmates — over half of the 2.3 million people behind bars — are parents of children under age 18. This includes more than 120,000 mothers and more than 1.1 million fathers. The racial concentration that characterizes incarceration rates also extends to incarcerated parents. Nearly half a million black fathers, for example, are behind bars, a number that represents 40 percent of all incarcerated parents.
"The most alarming news lurking within these figures is that there are now 2.7 million minor children (under age 18) with a parent behind bars. (See Figure 9.) Put more starkly, 1 in every 28 children in the United States — more than 3.6 percent — now has a parent in jail or prison. Just 25 years ago, the figure was only 1 in 125.
"For black children, incarceration is an especially common family circumstance. More than 1 in 9 black children has a parent in prison or jail, a rate that has more than quadrupled in the past 25 years. (See Figure 10.)
"Because far more men than women are behind bars, most children with an incarcerated parent are missing their father.37 For example, more than 10 percent of African American children have an incarcerated father, and 1 percent have an incarcerated mother."Source:The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2010. Collateral Costs: Incarceration’s Effect on Economic
Mobility. Washington, DC: The Pew Charitable Trusts, p. 18.
(Impact of Student Aid Ban) "Since the drug conviction question was first added to the financial aid form during the 2000-2001 school year, 189,065 people have had their applications rejected because of their answers to it. The government has periodically released data on the number of students affected nationally. DoE released the state-by-state data last week, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the nonprofit organization Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and a subsequent lawsuit brought by the student group against the government."Source:Students for Sensible Drug Policy, "How Many College Students in Each State Lost Financial Aid Due to Drug Convictions?," April 17, 2006.
(Effectiveness of Student Drug Testing Compared With Positive School Climate) "The current research reinforces previous conclusions that SDT is a relatively ineffective drug-prevention policy (Goldberg et al., 2007; Sznitman, 2013a; Yamaguchi et al., 2003). On the other hand, interventions that improve school climate may have greater efficacy. Indeed, 'whole school' health promotion efforts and interventions that work with students, teachers, and parents to develop positive school staff–student relationships and promote students’ security have been found to reduce substance use (Bond et al., 2004;
Fletcher et al., 2008).
"Certainly, schools are important as social and learning environments affecting not only academic achievement but also health behaviors. Young people whose relationships with their fellow students and teachers lack respect are more likely to initiate and escalate use of drugs, as evidenced in this and other studies (Fletcher et al., 2008) and to be subject to other mental health problems (Blum and Libbey, 2004; Catalano et al., 2004; LaRusso et al., 2008). Therefore, the potential consequences of poor school climates for young people’s health are far reaching and deserving of attention."Source:Sharon R. Sznitman, PhD, and Daniel Romer, PhD, "Student Drug Testing and Positive School Climates: Testing the Relation Between Two School Characteristics and Drug Use Behavior in a Longitudinal Study," Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, Vol. 75, No. 1, January 2014.
(Parents in Prison) "Thirty-seven percent of parents held in state prison reported living with at least one of their children in the month before arrest, 44% reported just prior to incarceration, and 48% reported at either time (table 7). Mothers were more likely than fathers to report living with at least one child. More than half of mothers held in state prison reported living with at least one of their children in the month before arrest, compared to 36% of fathers. More than 6 in 10 mothers reported living with their children just prior to incarceration or at either time, compared to less than half of fathers.
"Parents held in federal prison were more likely than those held in state prison to report living with a child in the month before arrest, just prior to incarceration, or at either time (appendix table 7). Mothers in federal prison were more likely than fathers to report living with a child."Source:Glaze, Lauren E. and Maruschak, Laura M., "Parents in Prison and Their Minor Children" (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, Aug. 2008), NCJ222984, p. 4.
(Parents in Prison, by Offense) "Among male state prisoners, violent (47%) and property (48%) offenders were less likely to report having children than public-order (60%) and drug (59%) offenders (table 6). For women held in state prison, violent (57%) offenders were less likely than drug (63%), property (65%), and public-order (65%) offenders to be a mother.
"The prevalence of being a parent differed by gender and offense for inmates held in state and federal prisons. For state inmates, female (65%) property offenders were more likely to be a parent than male (48%) property offenders. In federal prison, male (69%) drug offenders were more likely than female (55%) drug offenders to report having children.
"Among men held in federal prison, drug offenders (69%) were more likely than property (54%) and violent (50%) offenders to report having children (appendix table 5). Public-order offenders (62%) were also more likely than violent offenders to report having children. For women in federal prison, the likelihood of being a mother did not differ by offense."Source:Glaze, Lauren E. and Maruschak, Laura M., "Parents in Prison and Their Minor Children" (Washington, DC: USDOJ, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Jan. 2009), NCJ222984, p. 4.
(Parents in Prison) "Mothers in state prison (58%) were more likely than fathers (49%) to report having a family member who had also been incarcerated (table 11). Parents in state prison most commonly reported a brother (34%), followed by a father (19%). Among mothers in state prison, 13% reported a sister and 8% reported a spouse. Six percent of fathers reported having a sister who had also been incarcerated; 2%, a spouse.
"While growing up, 40% of parents in state prison reported living in a household that received public assistance, 14% reported living in a foster home, agency, or institution at some time during their youth, and 43% reported living with both parents most of the time (appendix table 11). Mothers (17%) held in state prison were more likely than fathers (14%) to report living in a foster home, agency, or institution at some time during their youth. Parents in federal prison reported lower percentages of growing up in a household that received public assistance (31%) or living in a foster home, agency, or institution (7%). These characteristics varied little by gender for parents held in federal prison.
"More than a third (34%) of parents in state prison reported that during their youth, their parents or guardians had abused alcohol or drugs. Mothers in state prison (43%) were more likely than fathers (33%) to have had this experience. Fewer parents (27%) in federal prison reported having a parent or a guardian who had abused alcohol or drugs."Source:Glaze, Lauren E. and Maruschak, Laura M., "Parents in Prison and Their Minor Children" (Washington, DC: USDOJ, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Jan. 2009), NCJ222984, p. 7.
Laws and Policies
(Public Housing 'One Strike' Law) Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) in the US operate under a "One Strike" policy regarding drug use that is so over-reaching that even drug use by a guest can be grounds for eviction. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, "The 1998 amendments of the 1996 Extension Act provisions on ineligibility of illegal drug users and alcohol abusers confirm that a PHA or owner may deny admission or terminate assistance for the whole household that includes a person involved in the proscribed activity. With respect to a PHA or owner's discretion to consider rehabilitation for a household member with the offending substance abuse problem, the rule would permit a PHA or owner to hold the whole household responsible for that member's successful rehabilitation as a condition for continued occupancy and avoidance of eviction."Source:Federal Register, "One-Strike Screening and Eviction for Drug Abuse and Other Criminal Activity," Vol. 64, No. 141, Friday, July 23, 1999, p. 40266.
(Permanent Bans on Public Housing) "In determining ligibility for Section 8 and other federally assisted housing, the Housing Opportunity Program Extension Act of 199640 and the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 199841 require local housing authorities to permanently bar individuals convicted of certain sex offenses and methamphetamine production on public housing premises.42 The federal laws also give local public housing agencies discretion to deny eligibility to virtually anyone with a criminal background, including: 1) people who have been evicted from public, federally assisted, or Section 8 housing because of drug-related criminal activity for three years; and 2) anyone who has engaged in any drug-related criminal activity, any violent criminal activity, and other criminal activity that would adversely affect the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises.43 Local housing agencies have the authority to: 1) identify which crimes make an applicant ineligible for public housing; 2) decide whether they will consider arrests not leading to conviction in eviction proceedings; 3) decide how long to deny housing assistance to people with criminal records; and 4) determine what, if anything, qualifies as rehabilitation for purposes of lifting the bars to public housing. Thus, local authorities have wide discretion in determining how restrictive, or inclusive, their policies regarding admission of people with criminal records will be."Source:Mukamal, Debbie A. and Samuels, Paul N., " Statutory Limitations on Civil Rights of People with Criminal Records." Fordham Urban Law Journal (New York, NY: Fordham University, 2002) Volume 30, Issue 5, p. 1506.
(Impact of Drug Testing for TANF Benefits) "Few proposals [to drug test applicants and recipients of TANF - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families] suggest child well-being improvements as a result of drug testing, though provisions for protective payees for children’s benefits are intended to ensure funds are spent on children’s needs. Proposals that sanction families by definition reduce the income available to the family and may therefore decrease child well‐being. Sanctions and benefit decreases have been shown to increase the risk that children will be hospitalized and face food insecurity.42 An Idaho analysis also suggests that children may be harmed unintentionally by drug testing programs because parents may refuse to apply for benefits knowing they will face drug testing or may refuse to complete treatment.43 On the other hand, deterrent effects of drug testing may lead welfare applicants to reduce drug use, with potential positive effects for children."Source:"Drug Testing Welfare Recipients: Recent Proposals and Continuing Controversies," Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (Washington, DC: October 2011), p. 8.
(Denial of Education Benefits) "The Higher Education Act of 1965,1 as amended, provides for the suspension of certain federal higher education benefits to students who have been convicted for the possession or sale of a controlled substance under federal or state law.2 The controlled substance offense may be either a felony or a misdemeanor. Federal higher education benefits that are denied to such individuals include student loans, Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and the Federal Work-Study program.3
"The Higher Education Act [HEA] provision outlines different periods for which such drug offenders are ineligible to receive certain federal higher education benefits, depending upon the type and number of controlled substance convictions. The period of ineligibility begins on the date of conviction and ends after a specified interval."Source:"Drug Offenders: Various Factors May Limit the Impacts of Federal Laws That Provide for Denial of Selected Benefits," United States Government Accountability Office (Washington, DC: September 2005) GAO-05-238, p. 51.
(Reform of Higher Education Act Drug Offender Provision) "In early 2006, SSDP and our allies forced Congress to scale back the law, so that only people who are convicted while in college and receiving financial aid will have their eligibility taken away. Now, people who got convicted before they decided to go to college will be able to move on with their lives and earn an education.
"During the Higher Education Act Reauthorization process of 2008, Congress further scaled back the penalty, making it easier for students with drug convictions to regain eligibility for financial aid. Previously, students had to complete a government-approved treatment program, which are often more expensive than tuition at state universities or community colleges. Now, students have to pass two unannounced drug tests administered by a government-approved treatment program, without completing the program itself.
"Unfortunately, college students who get convicted will still lose their aid, and many of them will have to drop out. Statistics and common sense tell us that it simply doesn’t make sense to pull students out of school if we want to reduce drug abuse and encourage young people to become successful citizens.
"In July 2009, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced the Removing Impediments to Students’ Education (RISE) Act into the 111th Congress. The bill, which has substantial support, would simply repeal the aid elimination penalty.
"In September 2009, The House passed the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which included language that would repeal the Aid Elimination Penalty for students convicted of drug possession offenses. If this becomes law, only students convicted of drug distribution offenses will lose their aid eligibility. Rep. Souder (R-IN) attempted to introduce an amendment that would roll back this reform. Ultimately, in the face of overwhelming opposition to his amendment, he withdrew it."Source:Students for Sensible Drug Policy, "The Higher Education Act: Be Sensible - Stop the War on Higher Education," last accessed August 28, 2013.
Sociopolitical and Health-Related Research
(Risk Factors for Substance Use Among Youth) "The risk factors were stronger predictors of substance use outcomes compared to the protective factors, regardless of grade level or substance use type. In particular, the individual and peer risk factors were strongly related to lifetime and recent use of cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana. Among the protective factors, the strongest associations with substance use were found in the community domain. Several age-related differences in the associations were also found, suggesting that family and community factors were more salient among younger grades whereas peer and school factors were stronger among older adolescents."Source:Michael J. Cleveland, Ph.D; Mark E. Feinberg, Ph.D.; Daniel E. Bontempo, Ph.D.; and Mark T. Greenberg, Ph.D., "The Role of Risk and Protective Factors in Substance Use across Adolescence," Journal of Adolescent Health, (August 2008); 43(2): 157–164.
(Family Ties) "Compared to teens in families with strong Family Ties, teens in families with weak Family Ties are:
" Four times likelier to have tried tobacco;
" Four times likelier to have tried marijuana; and
" Almost three times likelier to have tried alcohol."Source:Knowledge Networks and QEV Analytics, "National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse VX: Teens and Parents" (New York, NY: National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, August 2010), p. 3.
(Children Residing in a Marijuana Grow House) "Despite our findings that 30% of the children in our study tested positive for drugs of abuse in their hair, we found that the vast majority were in good health at the time of examination, which was within 1 to 2 weeks from their removal from their homes [in which marijuana was grown]. The rates of the mostly minor health issues observed were well within the range expected in Canada and other developed countries."Source:Moller, Monique; Koren, Gideon; Karaskov, Tatyana; and Garcia-Bournissen, Facundo, "Examining the Health and Drug Exposures among Canadian Children Residing in Drug-Producing Homes," The Journal of Pediatrics (Cincinnati, OH: July 2011), p. 3.
(Parenting and Drug Production) "Among our cohort of children presented here [in this study], however, the majority of the parents were not known to be using illicit substances themselves and, on the basis of our clinical assessments, appear to be able to parent their children adequately. It is not likely that the production of drugs, particularly marijuana, hinders effective parenting much more than actual drug use, yet the differences in the ways these cases are handled suggest that police and child protection agencies perceive the former to be of greater concern with respect to child safety than the latter."Source:Moller, Monique; Koren, Gideon; Karaskov, Tatyana; and Garcia-Bournissen, Facundo, "Examining the Health and Drug Exposures among Canadian Children Residing in Drug-Producing Homes," The Journal of Pediatrics (Cincinnati, OH: July 2011), p. 4.
(Family and Initiation of Alcohol and Other Drug Use) "In terms of alcohol, some (19, 20) but not other (21) studies have linked parental alcohol and substance use to adolescent initiation of alcohol use. Several studies (14, 22) have identified disruption of family structure and social networks that use alcohol as a risk factor for initiation of alcohol use. Although there are few comparisons of the role of familial and social network determinants in the initiation of licit drug use, a cross-sectional study of 2,017 high school students found that social network characteristics were more important than familial characteristics in explaining cigarette and alcohol use (16).
"Thus, characteristics of one’s family during childhood and adolescence (including poor relationships between parents and children, parental educational attainment, and possibly parental substance use) appear to be the primary social factors associated with smoking and alcohol initiation. However, characteristics of families may be less important in specific groups where other social circumstances, including social network use of substances or recent migration, may be more important."Source:Galea, Sandro; Nandi, Arijit; and Vlahov, David, "The Social Epidemiology of Substance Use," Epidemiologic Reviews (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2004) Vol. 26, p. 39.
(Family and Initiation of Tobacco Use) "Other studies that have assessed initiation of multiple substances confirm the observation that adverse childhood family conditions are associated with a greater likelihood of initiation of cigarette use (13, 14). Conversely, positive parental-adolescent relationships have been associated with a lower risk of cigarette use (15), although this finding is not universal across studies (16). Smoking behavior of social network members and protobacco media influences also have been shown to be important determinants of age at smoking initiation (17)."Source:Galea, Sandro; Nandi, Arijit; and Vlahov, David, "The Social Epidemiology of Substance Use," Epidemiologic Reviews (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2004) Vol. 26, pp. 37-38.
Provisions of Selected Federal Law and the Corresponding Benefits That May Be Denied to Certain Drug Offenders Provisions of federal law Federal programs identified in provisions allowing for denial of benefits Description of the benefits that may or must be denied Section 115 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996a [PRWORA] (21 U.S.C. § 862a) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families [TANF] Cash assistance, vouchers, and other forms of support designed to meet a needy family’s ongoing basic needs Food Stamp Program Food assistance payments to low-income households and those transitioning from welfare to work. Section 438 of the Higher Education Act Amendments of 1988 [HEA] (20 U.S.C. § 1091(r))b Postsecondary education assistance Federal Pell Grants, Stafford loans, and work-study assistance. Section 5101 of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 (42 U.S.C. § 1437d(l)(6));c Section 428 of the Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act for fiscal year 1999 (42 U.S.C. § 1437n(f)); and section 577 of the Quality Housing Work and Responsibility Act of 1998 (42 U.S.C. § 13662) Federally assisted housing: Low-rent Public Housing Program Public housing primarily for low-income families with children. Federally assisted housing: Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly known as Section 8 Housing) Private market housing assistance for very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled. Section 5301 of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 (21 USC § 862) Denial of Federal Benefits Program Federal postsecondary student loans, federal licenses (e.g., for physicians, pilots, and others), and procurement contracts, among other benefits
4 "In addition to federal provisions explicitly denying federal benefits for drug offenders, other federal and state provisions may restrict convicted drug offenders from accessing certain types of occupational opportunities, participating in jury service, obtaining drivers’ licenses, or exercising voting rights."Source:"Drug Offenders: Various Factors May Limit the Impacts of Federal Laws That Provide for Denial of Selected Benefits," United States Government Accountability Office (Washington, DC: September 2005) GAO-05-238, pp. 5-6.