Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

One in 10 live with substance abuse

More than one in 10 teenagers live with a drink or drug-abusing parent, a report said

More than one in 10 teenagers live with an alcohol or drug-abusing parent, a report has revealed.

Over half of households surveyed had at least one member who reported problem drinking, charity Barnardo's said.

The group wants adult treatment centres to consider the needs of dependent children.

The report said: "There is an increasingly strong evidence base for bridging the gap between adult and children's services in favour of a more family-focused approach that considers the needs of dependent children and other family members.

"The whole family becomes involved in supporting their relative's treatment while also receiving advice and support in their own right, leading to positive outcomes."

It said this would mean progress in treatment and a reduction in the negative social and health impacts on other family members including children and young people.

Barnardo's launched a briefing document called Hidden Harm: Addictions in the Family at Stormont.

It said research showed over 15% of teenagers live in homes where one or more parents reported moderate substance use problems. Around 2% of parents reported serious alcohol or drug problems. A total of 700 families were surveyed.

The research cited academic material which said: "A key factor when supporting children living with parental substance misuse is building resilience, which can be defined as the capacity to prevent, minimise or overcome the damaging effects of adversity or trauma."

The report added: "Supporting the development of protective factors such as working with parents to improve parenting skills and interpersonal relationships can increase children's general resilience and reduce their risk of short and longer term harm."

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