More Than 9 Million Kids are Affected by a Parent’s Drug or Alcohol Abuse

A recent SAMHSA report found that almost 12% of children in the United States live with a parent that either is dependent on or abuses drugs or alcohol. The finding comes from an analysis of results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2002 – 2007. Specifically, about 2.1 million children lived with a parent who was dependent on or abused illicit drugs, and almost 7.3 million children lived with a parent who was dependent on or abused alcohol.

According to the report, “Substance use disorders can have a profound influence on the lives of individuals and their families, particularly their children…These data highlight the potential breadth of needs for the whole family—from substance abuse treatment for the affected adults to prevention and supportive services for the children.”

Another recently released report from SAMHSA shows that new mothers seem to be rapidly resuming the use of alcohol, cigarettes or drugs right after giving birth. The report, which analyzed data from the same national surveys at the above-mentioned report, found non-pregnant women with children under 3 months old in the household had much higher rates of past month alcohol use than women in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy (6.2% vs. 31.9%). Similar results were found in binge alcohol use (1% vs. 10%), cigarette use (13.9% vs. 20.4%) and marijuana use (1.4% vs. 3.8%). The report also noted that while more women seem to be heeding warnings about using drugs and alcohol during pregnancy, especially during the 3rd trimester, the number of women who drink alcohol during pregnancy is still high. According to the report, “Effective interventions for women to further reduce substance use during pregnancy and to prevent postpartum resumption of use could improve the overall health and well-being of mothers and infants.”

These 2 recent reports clearly illustrate the need to address the effects a person’s substance use has on the people around her, especially children. Those that grow up with a parent or parents that abuse alcohol or drugs are profoundly affected throughout their lives. Addressing these effects are important for the well-being of the friends, family members and others around the addicted person. Crossroads for Women will be holding its last educational series of the year for friends and family members affected by addiction on June 2nd at its outpatient office in Portland, ME. The 4-week series will focus on the basics of addiction, the recovery process and how to be supportive of an addicted loved one while also taking care of you. Find out more about the educational series or services for friends and family members of addicted loved ones.

Read the full reports
Children Living with Substance-Dependent or Substance-Abusing Parents: 2002 – 2007
Substance Use among Women During Pregnancy and Following Childbirth