Parents’ drug, alcohol and tobacco use negatively impacts all areas of child well-being – new study

We all know that the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs harms our own health. But many people are not aware that their use of these substances can sometimes also affect the health and well-being of others – including their own children.

Take secondhand smoking for example. Its effect on child well-being is so well evidenced that smoking in cars with under 18s was banned in Wales in 2015. For good reason, too – the NHS estimates that every year 300,000 GP visits and 9,500 hospital admissions in the UK are due to children’s exposure to others’ tobacco smoke.

While less is known about the secondary harms that come from parents’ alcohol and drug use, we do know that up to 30% of children in the UK live with at least one parent or carer who binge drinks alcohol, and that 6% live with a parent who is dependent on alcohol. 8% of children also live with at least one parent or carer who uses drugs up to once a month, and 3% live with a parent who is drug dependent. These numbers might seem small, but as there are nearly 15m people aged 18 years and under in the UK, this means that nearly 500,000 children could be living with a drug dependent adult.

Read more here.