No Sip Left Behind: Foster Kids and Alcohol Addiction

The foster care system sees an array of cases where children have been entered because of death, abandonment, and even physical abuse. Did you know that there are approximately 400,000 kids within the United States Foster Care System from 2017 to present-day 2020? Probably not. Terrifyingly enough, another underreported fact is that 38% of all “removed children” were placed in Foster Care because of “Parental Alcohol or Other Drug Use Abuse Issues.” Before the children were rehomed, they faced reality drowned in addiction and neglect. Neglect caused by drug and alcohol abuse can resemble:

• Reduced capacity to respond to a child’s cues and needs

• Difficulties regulating emotions and controlling anger and impulsivity

• Disruptions in healthy parent-child attachment

• Spending limited funds on alcohol and drugs rather than food or other household needs

• Spending time seeking out, manufacturing, or using alcohol or other drugs

• Incarceration, which can result in inadequate or inappropriate supervision for children

A quick solution in a perfect world would be to rehabilitate parents addicted to alcohol and drugs and be reunited with their kids. 

Look outside, the world is far from perfect. 

Once these children enter the system, they can become addicted to the same substances that separated their families. It was reported by NCBI in 2012 that 34% of foster children said drinking alcohol at least once per month. Underage drinking can result in many consequences such as unintentional death and injury associated with driving or engaging in other risky tasks after drinking, homicide and violence, suicide attempts, sexual assault, risky sexual behavior, and vandalism and property damage. Although these detrimental factors, drinking is still a big issue for these children. This is the same demographic that also struggles with mental health disorders. Alcohol is a suppressant meaning that it lowers the part of the brain responsible anxiety. When a subpopulation such as Foster Kids is affected when a multitude of hardships such as frequent home changes, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and facing a high potential for homelessness, addiction is more likely. 

This is heavy stuff, right?

As noted by the NCBI, there’s a strong correlation that childhood trauma breeds addicts. They reported that the most abused substance of individuals with childhood traumas is alcohol. When taking into account the childhood traumas placed on foster children, it is hard to imagine a plan in breaking this cycle of alcoholism.   

But breaking the cycle isn’t impossible. 

Organizations such as the National Association of Children and Addiction are fighting for families and children. On their official website, they noted that their primary purpose is to “Eliminate the adverse impact of alcohol and drug use on children and families and create a world in which no child who struggles because of family addiction will be left unsupported.” Organizations like this are increasing the likelihood of re-bonding families and breaking the cycle of addiction. So, what’s next? We must continue to support families with dependencies, eliminate stigmas around addiction, and implement mental health services for Foster Care children, to fully eradicate foster care and alcohol-induced trauma. 

17-yr-old Pakistani boy to reunite with his family after almost 2 ...


About the children. (n.d.). Retrieved May 29, 2020, from

National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare. (n.d.). Child Welfare and Alcohol & Drug Use Statistics. Retrieved May 29, 2020, from

Braciszewski, J., & Stout, R. (2012, December 1). Substance Use Among Current and Former Foster Youth: A Systematic Review. Retrieved May 29, 2020, from

Is Alcohol a Depressant? – Depressants. (2020, April 29). Retrieved May 29, 2020, from

Bonnie, R. (1970, January 01). Consequences of Underage Drinking. Retrieved May 29, 2020, from

Edited by Editorial StaffLast Updated: February 3, 2. (n.d.). Children of Alcoholics. Retrieved May 29, 2020, from

Why Are All the Bodega’s and Liquor Stores Open?

Why are all the corner stores still open? In my neighborhood, there’s a package store right on Bill Arp Road next to the Walmart. It’s been consistently open every day from 8am to 11pm, including when Governor Brian Kemp issued a “shelter-in-place” mandate on April 2nd, 2020. During this period, Governor Kemp instructed Georgians to isolate themselves except for essential businesses. Kemp did not define what “essential business” meant within his executive order, but can we assume that Liquor stores are not a necessary aspect to any community, right? Should individuals prioritize toilet paper, bread, as well as Tito’s Vodka on their “PANDEMIC-MUST-HAVE” grocery list?

Common Alcoholic Beverages found in Bodegas


We can assume that the American population sees alcohol as a necessity based on data provided by CNN.  CNN noted that “Alcohol sales have increased by 55% during the third week of March” (CNN, 2019).  Following this spike in alcohol consumption, Forbes analyzed the growth of alcohol sales during this time. They noted that Nielsen (a global provider of market research) Vice President, Danelle Kosmal commented that, “28% of frequent on-premise drinkers said they purchased more alcohol in the past month at a physical store, compared to 15% of the average drinker claiming to purchase more at a store”. (Forbes, 2020). It seems like the pandemic and alcohol go hand-in-hand, so where are these liquor stores?  

Remember that package store on Bill Arp Road? It’s located in Douglasville, Georgia. This is an area where 79% of the population consists of Black and Latinx civilians. This package store, along with others, has longer store hours, which allows for more revenue to come in each day. This scenario can be replicated with bodegas in Washington Heights, NYC, an area where 56.3% of the population consists of Black and Latinx communities. Governor Cuomo of New York, “ordered all non-essential businesses statewide to close, in an attempt to curb the spread of infection. Supermarkets, pharmacies, laundromats, gas stations, liquor stores, and restaurants have all been declared essential businesses. They will be allowed to remain open” (New York Post, 2020).  Is declaring “liquor stores” as an essential business beneficial to the communities in which they reside, or is this product of negligence that will overwhelmingly affect this demographic?

Individuals wearing PPE during COVID19 outbreak.

Alcohol consumption is encouraged and enabled onto these communities, which is the same demographic that is being profoundly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. National Geographic reported that one-third of all COVID related deaths have been within the black community. Salud America stated that 26.9% of reported COVID-19 deaths belong to the Latinx demographic. The stress of economic stability, safety, and various racial stigmas are weighing heavily on these communities during this outbreak. This can result in the mass consumption of alcohol to relieve stress and to ignore instability.  Liquor stores and food deserts are exceptionally prominent with PoC neighborhoods, but how can a pandemic be eradicated when basic human necessities aren’t met for those that are most impacted? How do we shift the importance of alcohol accessibility in these neighborhoods, to providing these individuals with culturally competent healthcare, safe living situations, and socioeconomic stability? These questions have a vast amount of credible answers but let’s conclude this post with three facts:

  1. There are more liquor stores in Brown and Black communities than grocery markets, especially in cities with low socioeconomic rates. This is a direct result of gentrification and systematic inequalities.
  2. Liquor stores are viewed as an “essential business” and will remain open in these neighborhoods. These are the same neighborhoods that are genuinely suffering from COVID related deaths. Opening liquor stores, and having them be the most accessible form of barter in this community is negligent.
  3. Racism isn’t just what you say, think, do, and feel. It is also what you allow.” Prioritizing liquor consumption in these areas, over basic human needs like safe housing, quality food, and quality health care allows Racism to be at the forefront during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Image shows population density in inner-city communities.


Renton, A. (2020, May 20th). Coronavirus pandemic: Updates from around the world. Retrieved May 21st, 2020, from

2020 Executive Orders. (2020, April 03rd). Retrieved May 21st, 2020, from

Micallef, J. (2020, April 06th). How The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Upending The Alcoholic Beverage Industry. Retrieved May 21st, 2020, from

U.S. Census. (2019, July 01st). U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Douglasville city, Georgia. Retrieved May 21st, 2020, from

Stokes, D. (n.d.). White Privilege Quotes (87 quotes). Retrieved May 21st, 2020, from

Furnari, C. (2020, April 30th). Are Americans Drinking Their Way Through The Coronavirus Pandemic? Retrieved May 21st, 2020, from

Warerkar, T. (2020, March 24th). NYC Liquor and Wine Store Sales Are Skyrocketing During Ongoing Shutdown. Retrieved May 21st, 2020, from

Google. (n.d.). PoC Definition. Retrieved May 21st, 2020, from

Brooks, K. (2014, March 10th). Research shows food deserts more abundant in minority neighborhoods. Retrieved May 21st, 2020, from

Hidalgo, S., ​Melton, A., McNamee, Caballero-Reynolds, A., Sisti, M., & Barrayn, L. (2020, April 29th). African Americans struggle with a disproportionate COVID death toll. Retrieved May 21st, 2020, from

Despres, C. (2020, May 14th). Coronavirus Case Rates and Death Rates for Latinos in the United States. Retrieved May 21st, 2020, from

CDC. (2020, April 22nd). COVID-19 in Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups. Retrieved May 21st, 2020, from