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The NIAAA (National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse) found that 1 in 4 children, before the age of 18, in the US, have been exposed to a family member who was/is an alcoholic. In 1974 an estimate was developed by Booz-Allen Hamilton based on the ratio of problem drinkers in the US, and the average number of children a family has. This method was then applied by the Children of Alcoholics Foundation in 1984, and it is estimated that 6,600,000 adolescents were children of alcoholics (Keep in mind that there are 260,000,000 people in the United States, so even though 6,600,000 looks large, compared to the total population, it is not). Another estimate, using the 1980 population census, puts the number of COA's (Children of Alcoholics) at 22,000,000. It has also been found that children exposed to the idea that they will inevitably become alcoholic drinkers should they decide to drink, and those who enter support groups, have lower self-esteem and increased feelings of depression, two characteristics of every substance abuser. Similar to treatment for substance abusers overall, children entering support groups as a result of familial problems are more likely to develop the same or similar problems themselves. Furthermore, it has been shown in numerous studies that COA's are only 6 percent more likely to become problem drinkers. Like the need for a war on drugs, the idea that COA's will inevitably become alcoholics, is pure propaganda. Teaching children they will face inevitable consequence upon the consumption of substances, for many, creates the problem. The cost for a drug treatment program then is at the expense of effectiveness. Not only is the cost of drug treatment programs in tax payer dollars, but also in lost productivity and lost self efficacy.

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