CHEATHAM CO., Tenn. (WKRN) — Children whose parents abuse drugs or alcohol are four times more likely than other kids to be neglected, according to the Tennessee Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (TADEC).
Six task forces across the state seek to help these children survive and thrive. However, News 2’s Alex Denis discovers the mission is especially difficult in Cheatham County.
“2,425, the overdoses in Cheatham have been unreal,” says Tabatha Curtis, the statewide coordinator for TADEC.
She says kids living in drug dependent homes are subjected to the unimaginable like “the multiple losses that these children go through especially with the opioid pandemic.” Curtis continues, “It’s not always just their parents. It’s their aunts; it’s their uncles; their cousins; even their grandparents who are dying.”
The Cheatham County Community Enhancement Coalition focuses on supporting these children during these difficult times.
“These children can tell you about making funeral arrangements, and how the parent, or whomever, is going to Nashville for an autopsy. These are adult things we don’t want to have to deal with much less the trauma that these kids are going through,” says Curtis.
With more than 80 overdose calls in Cheatham County so far this year, younger children are at a higher risk of another deadly danger called overplay deaths. Curtis says that’s when a parent or caregiver is under the influence and they pass out on a child, suffocating them.
Advocates ask that everyone in the community be on the look out for drug endangered kids that may be too afraid to ask for help.
“What’s not reported cannot be investigated. You have to be a mandated reporter and contact the Department of Child Services,” says Curtis.
The number to call 877-237-0004. You can remain anonymous.