Home > Parental substance misuse: addressing its impact on children: a review of the literature.

National Advisory Committee on Drugs. Horgan, Justine (2011) Parental substance misuse: addressing its impact on children: a review of the literature. Dublin: Stationery Office.

PDF (NACD Parental Substance Misuse:Literature review) - Published Version

This new report focuses on the needs of children whose parents are problematic substance misusers. It was prepared at the request of the NACD by our Senior Researcher Dr Justine Horgan who is to be congratulated on the quality of her review and analysis of the Irish and international literature on what is known about the impact of parental use of a range of drugs on their children.

The report looks, not only at the biological impact of drug use during pregnancy and breast feeding, but even more importantly highlighting the psychosocial impact on children when their parents misuse drugs including alcohol.

The report draws attention to gaps in our knowledge of the true extent and impact of that drug misuse in Ireland. A number of key messages are identified in this study:
• International evidence underlines that parental drug and alcohol misuse has negative consequences for child development, parenting and family life
• Common principles and standards to support work with parental substance and alcohol misusers should underpin services working to safeguard the development of their children
• The national Children First guidelines should be used by organizations working regularly with children who experience parental substance misuse and with their parents
• Health promotion and public information messages that target parents and the impact of their drug and alcohol use on their children need to also promote support services and interventions.

The report also sets out a range of measures which need to be taken on board in order to redress the gaps in our knowledge of what is happening to the children of drug users in Ireland at this time, emphasising five essential research activities.

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