Issue Brief: Parenting and Drug Use

People parent. People use drugs. People parent and use drugs. Despite how common this is, parenting and drug use is highly stigmatized, rarely talked about, and punishable by the state within both the criminal and family legal systems. But, we know that not all parents are faced with family separation and criminalization. Low-income families and particularly Black and Brown families disproportionately face family regulation intervention, separation, and criminalization at higher rates than their white counterparts. This issue brief for impacted people, advocates, and attorneys provides a high-level overview of the harm (or lack thereof) of drug use and parenting, the presumed role of drug tests as metrics of harm, the actual harm inflicted on a child through intervention and or removal, and helpful case law (for attorneys) rejecting drug use as justification to separate families.

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