NSPCC report 30% rise in helpline contacts about parents with drug and alcohol dependency

Bonnie Evie Gifford
By Bonnie Evie Gifford,
updated on Jan 20, 2023

NSPCC report 30% rise in helpline contacts about parents with drug and alcohol dependency

The leading children’s charity reported almost 200 calls and emails a week relating to parental substance misuse

According to the latest figures released by the NSPCC, a record number of people contacted the charity with concerns about the potential wellbeing of children affected by parental misuse of alcohol or drugs. The figures, released in early March, showed over 10,200 calls related to parental substance misuse across the 2016/17 period, averaging at almost 200 a week. This suggested a concerning increase of 30 per cent from the previous year's data.

John Cameron, Head of Helplines at the NSPCC, said:

“Every child should be able to grow up in a home where they feel safe and supported. The sad fact is that many young people are being deprived of this simple right due to one or both of their parents abusing drink and drugs.

“It is vitally important for the wellbeing of the whole family that adults who are misusing any substance seek help from effective programmes such as Parents Under Pressure. In doing so they will gain a better understanding of themselves and what they need to do to give their child the best start in life.”

More than a third of children referred to local authorities in the past year were aged just one to five years old, with almost 600 referrals for children under one year old or unborn relating to parental substance misuse.

If you are concerned about a child’s wellbeing, the NSPCC provide 24/7 help, advice and support. Contact [email protected], call 0808 800 5000, or visit NSPCC.

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