SAMHSA: 1 in 8 children live with a parent with addiction
Analysis of national data indicated one in eight children lived in households with at least one parent with a substance use disorder in the past year.
“Parent substance use and parent experience of a [substance use disorder] can have negative effects on children. Children with a parent who has a [substance use disorder] are more likely than children who do not have a parent with a [substance use disorder] to have lower socioeconomic status and increased difficulties in academic and social settings and family functioning,” Rachel N. Lipari, PhD, and Struther L. Van Horn, MA, of SAMHSA, wrote. “Children having a parent with a [substance use disorder] are at risk of experiencing direct effects, such as parental abuse or neglect, or indirect effects, such as fewer household resources.”
To determine rates of children living with a parent with a substance use disorder, researchers analyzed data from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health from 2009 to 2014 for 22,200 adults with at least one related child aged 17 years or younger residing in the household.
Analysis indicated approximately one in eight (8.7 million) children aged 17 years or younger lived in households with at least one parent with a past-year substance use disorder.
An estimated 7.5 million, or one in 10, children lived in households with at least one parent with a past-year alcohol use disorder.
Approximately one in 35 children (2.1 million) lived in households with at least one parent with an illicit drug use disorder in the past year.
“Although many children living in households with a substance-using parent will not experience abuse or neglect, they are at increased risk for child maltreatment and child welfare involvement compared with other children. In addition, these children are at an increased risk for engaging in substance use themselves,” the researchers wrote. “The expense of substance use treatment can be a financial barrier for people who need it; however, the long-term potential impact of parent substance use on their children suggests that substance use treatment intervention for parents may be essential to the well-being of their children. When a parent has a [substance use disorder], the whole family may be part of the recovery process, and each household member may need support.” – by Amanda Oldt
Lipari RN and Van Horn SL. CBHSQ report: Children living with parents who have a substance use disorder. Available at: http://www.samhsa.gov/data. Accessed August 25, 2017.
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For resources on working with substance use disorders in families, visit https://ncsacw.samhsa.gov/.
Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.