Characteristics of injection drug using parents who retain their children

Daniel J. Pilowsky, Cynthia M. Lyles, Sheila I. Cross, David Celentano, Kenrad E. Nelson, David Vlahov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While it is known that injection drug users (IDUs) often have their children removed or place them voluntarily, little is known about factors associated with whether IDU parents live with their children. We identified a community sample of 391 IDU parents with at least one child under age 14 (index IDU parents). For these IDU parents, 62% did not have any of their children under age 14 living with them. We assessed whether certain health factors, risk related behaviors, social indicators, and active drug use were related to whether children of IDUs were living with the index IDU parent. IDU parents who were living with their children were overwhelmingly more likely to be female, more likely to have health insurance, and engage in no-risk or low-risk drug practices, as compared to moderate/high-risk practices. Additionally, HIV negative and HIV positive asymptomatic parents were about three times more likely to be living with their children than HIV positive parents with clinical symptoms commonly seen among those suffering from HIV-related illnesses. HIV-related clinical symptoms, rather than HIV status per se, seem to be associated with retention of children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Children
  • Children of substance abusing parents
  • Foster care
  • HIV
  • Injection drug users
  • Parental drug use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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