Our children are at the forefront of the war on drugs. Approximately 2.3 million people, one in one hundred adults, are incarcerated in the United States. At a federal level prisoners incarcerated on a drug charge comprise half of the prison population, and the number of drug offenders in state prisons has increased 13-fold since 1980. The increasing incarceration numbers are a direct response to our failed drug policies.
It is estimated that one in four families struggles with a loved oneâ€™s addiction to drugs, so in addition to coping with the painful process of addictive illness more and more families are also experiencing the devastation of having a loved one behind bars. In many neighborhoods of color or poverty, it has become the norm to have a parent locked away in prison for drug use or drug-related behavior. The consequences of a drug conviction may include permanent loss of education, housing and employment opportunities.