Substance misuse among parents is soaring, says NSPCC helpline

19 March 2021

The number of people contacting the NSPCC with concerns about drug and alcohol misuse among parents has risen by 66% since April 2020. 

Between January and March 2020, the NSPCC was receiving just over 700 contacts a month from worried adults. Since the first lockdown started, that number rose to an average of 1178 contacts a month.

The NSPCC explains that while taking drugs, drink or both in large quantities over a long period can lead to mental, psychological and physical illness, it doesn’t necessarily mean a child will experience abuse. But it does make it harder to provide safe and loving care.

The NSPCC revealed that signs indicating a family could be struggling and need support include an increasingly chaotic lifestyle and parents struggling to recognise and meet their children’s needs.

Kam Thandi, head of the NSPCC helpline, said that in addition to the rise in contacts and referrals, they’re ‘seeing families who weren’t previously known to children’s services requiring help and support for substance misuse.’

She said it was ‘vital that those who are relying on drugs and alcohol […] seek help.’

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