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Junkie Parent

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And even as a crack fiend, Mama
You always was a black queen, Mama
Tupac Shakur, "Dear Mama"

Someone who abuses drugs and is also a parent. They're usually a character's parent, but sometimes they're the main character themself.

Unlike its sister trope the Alcoholic Parent, this is almost never Played for Laughs (and it's Black Comedy when it is). These types of parents are far more likely to be portrayed as Abusive Parents or neglectful parents than alcoholic parents are. Also, unlike Alcoholic Parent (which leans towards fathers), this trope is more unisex (with a lean towards mothers).

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Sister trope to Alcoholic Parent. Usually a subtrope of Struggling Single Mother, and often overlaps with Single Mom Stripper. See also Addled Addict.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Code Geass, Kallen's estranged biological mother is addicted to the Fantastic Drug Refrain, which gives users a feeling of nostalgia. She's shown sober and recovering in the final episode.

    Comic Books 
  • In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Carrie Kelley's parents are so wasted that they don't even notice when she runs away until long after she's gone.
    "Hey... didn't we have a kid?"
  • In Runaways, Karolina ended up living with a pair of junkies after her parents' death. She suspects that they probably don't even realize that she ran out on them.
  • When Batman is trying to ascertain the whereabouts of Jason Todd's parents after convincing the homeless boy to enter a live-in school he discovered that Jason's mother died of an overdose after a battle with her addiction. Jason went on to become the second Robin after uncovering the illegal activities the woman running the school was using her students for and acting as a vigilante on his own to take her down.
  • In The Order, Mulholland Black's parents were drug-addicted rock stars who both overdosed when she was little.

    Fan Works 
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    Film — Animated 
  • In My Life as a Zucchini, Simon's parents are both stated to be severe drug addicts, hence why he's been relegated to the orphanage.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Chiron's mother in Moonlight is an abusive and neglectful woman who is addicted to drugs. He has to turn to Parental Substitutes for love and support.
  • In The Crow, Sarah spends a lot of time running around unsupervised thanks to her mother's morphine addiction. A confrontation with Eric does prompt her to try going clean and being a parent again.
  • Harshly deconstructed in Trainspotting, where Sick Boy's baby daughter Dawn dies of starvation and neglect because both Sick Boy and Allison are heroin addicts who aren't reliable enough to look after Dawn.
  • In Class of 1999, Cody Culp's mother is a drug addict, which just goes to show how depressed the future world is for the underclass.
  • A recurring character, Sheryl, in Boyz n the Hood is an addict whose toddlers are frequently running around unsupervised. One character narrowly saves one from getting hit by a car.
  • Unedited Footage of a Bear: Protagonist Donna is a drug user addicted to the fictional Claridryl, while also raising two kids. Her addiction takes on the form of a cruel and abusive clone that torments her children.

    Literature 
  • A Dog's Way Home: Lucas' mother Terri was addicted to heroin when he was a kid. She was a war veteran who turned to drugs after coming back from Afghanistan. As an adult, Lucas tries to put it in the past, but Terri regrets neglecting him growing up.
  • Posthumous example from Ready Player One. Main character Wade's mother was a rather extreme junkie, mainly to escape the Crapsack World she lived. Ironically, Wade himself has only fond memories of her, particularly playing with her in the Oasis on his first rig.
  • Rivers of London: Peter's father is a former junkie, enabled by his fame as a jazz legend. However, Peter isn't the most introspective of protagonists, so this really only gets spotlighted when he visits his parents — Peter's mother effectively cared for both of them through Peter's childhood.
  • Wicked: Elphaba's deceased mother Melena was a blue blood who left her riches to marry a preacher who she thought would be successful, only to end up living in the middle of nowhere. This led to a very bland life, made worse by her husband often being away. Melena was prone to chewing leaves that left her in a drugged state and often made her pass out. She also liked wine.
  • Worm: Brian's mother is a hopeless drug addict with whom he is fighting for custody of his younger sister Aisha. The latter's personal eccentricities are implied to be the result of her mother abusing drugs while pregnant with her (though the grossly incompetent upbringing such a parent could provide certainly won't have helped,) and one of the few times Aisha is completely serious is when she's worrying about whether her mother will get pregnant again and have a kid "even more retarded than [her]."

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Cloak & Dagger (2018), Tandy's mother is an open pill-popper. Of course, Tandy herself is an addict, so she can't really give her mom too much grief about it.
  • In the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Diamond Dogs", the culprit of the week is a young man with severe anger-management issues stemming from the fact that his heroin-addicted mother has forced him into crime to fund her drug habit.
  • Two of the four children focused on in the fourth season of The Wire are stuck living with this trope. Dukie lives in poverty so abject that he makes the other children of the Baltimore slums look well off by comparison, and his parents are so hopelessly addicted that they would even steal and sell his clothes for their next fix. Michael, meanwhile, has a mother who isn't quite that bad but is certainly an Addled Addict who would thoughtlessly spend all her cash on drugs without thinking of the need for things like food. If Michael didn't make sure to look out for himself and his younger brother, things would turn out very badly for them indeed. This has resulted in Michael essentially getting a Promotion to Parent... at age 13.
  • Twin Peaks:
    • A minor character in Season 3 is a young boy whose mother is addicted to heroin. He lives next door to where Dougie meets with Jade and is a witness to several acts of violence, such as the explosion of Dougie's car.
    • James Hurley's mother is never shown on-screen, but James mentions that she uses drugs; consequently, his relationship with her is poor. James is basically raised by his Parental Substitute and uncle Big Ed, although he doesn't live at his house. All of this aids in James' characterization as the Troubled, but Cute guy from the wrong side of the tracks.
  • Sons of Anarchy: Wendy, the biological mother of Jax's oldest son Abel, is a junkie. She tries to stay clean while pregnant but relapses and overdoses, triggering childbirth. Jax takes full custody after Abel is born both prematurely and drug-addicted. Wendy later cleans up her act and takes full custody of both Abel and Thomas, Jax's younger son, following the death of Tara, Jax, and Gemma in seasons 6 and 7.
  • In the American version of Shameless, both parents of the Gallagher clan (Frank and Monica) were drug addicts. Frank has gone through periods of withdrawal and recovery, but Monica passed away at the end of Season 7 due to complications from her longtime drug abuse.
  • Breaking Bad: Jesse receives some important character development when he goes to recover money and drugs that a pair of junkies who stole from one of his dealers and finds their neglected young son living in squalor.
    • He later starts a relationship with Andrea, a single mother who is a recovering/relapsing drug addict, but unlike the barely-human pair he encounters earlier, Andrea is a Functional Addict who still manages to be a competent and loving parent.
  • 13 Reasons Why: Justin's mother is a neglectful drug addict. Her boyfriend Seth is also a drug addict who is physically abusive to Justin.
  • In The Passage, Amy's mother was a drug addict. She suffers a fatal overdose in the first episode, leaving Amy an orphan.

    Music 
  • Sublime's "What I Got" is about the singer's carefree nature, with his mother's drug abuse being brought up in the 2nd verse.
    I don't cry when my dog runs away
    I don't get angry at the bills I have to pay.
    I don't get angry when my mom smokes pot, hits the bottle, and goes right for the rock.
  • Ludacris' song "Runaway Love" tells the story of several girls who run away from home. The first, Lisa, is a nine-year-old who has a neglectful, drug-addicted (and according to the music video, alcoholic) mother.
  • "The Sins of a Family" written by P. F. Sloan and recorded by Barry Mc Guire.
  • Tupac Shakur:
    • In "Dear Mama" (quoted above), Tupac Shakur mentions his mother’s drug abuse, but despite this, she was always there for him.
    • Brenda from "Brenda's Got A Baby" has a bad home life with a neglectful, drug-addicted father and an equally (if not more so) neglectful mother. This leads her to look for affection elsewhere, specifically in an older cousin who gets her pregnant at twelve.
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    Theater 
  • Mrs. Teavee in the Broadway production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
    Klonopin, Ativan, Paxil, and Valium
    I need a pill just to sit down and tally 'em
    - "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?"

    Video Games 
  • LISA has Brad Armstrong, the adoptive father of Buddy, who is addicted to Joy. Notably, he manages to get over Joy for a bit so he can raise her before he eventually relapses and leaves his daughter in the care of his friends.
  • In Fallout 4, Cait's parents were junkies who sold her to Raiders when she was a kid (and it's strongly implied she was that kind of slave). After she got free of the gang, she took revenge on them but the act still haunts her.

    Western Animation 
  • In Disenchantment, Bean's stepmother Queen Oona takes snakeroot in order to "soothe her nerves". One episode sees Bean stealing her stash in order to get high.
    Luci: She has no friends. She has nothing in her life except a drug that makes her happy. Now let's go steal it!
  • White-trash neighbor kids Ben and Kenny on F is for Family have at least one of these "raising" them:
    Kenny: "That fish looks like mama after she takes her arm vitamins."

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