Effect of drug using on family members can be devastating

A heroin or crack-cocaine addict can have a devastating impact
on the rest of their family, prompting health problems and
encouraging other family members to experiment themselves,
according to research published today, writes Simeon

Families are drawn into a downward spiral of problems, including
anxiety, rows and routine exposure to drug taking at home, the
report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation finds.

It says parents of drug users lack the time or energy to support
their other children and siblings lose a valued relationship with a
brother or sister who has become self-centred and unreliable.

Researcher Marina Barnard said the risks families of drug users
faced had not been addressed by policy makers or treatment

She said: “Policy makers must give careful thought to ways
in which better family support can most effectively mesh with
existing treatment and prevention services.”

Welcoming the report, DrugScope called for compulsory training
on parental drug use for all social care staff working with
children or families.

Chief executive of the charity Martin Barnes said:
“Between 250,000 and 350,000 children have parents who are
misusing drugs. Many will receive good and safe parenting, but
today’s report has highlighted the spectrum of risks to

Drugs in the Family from www.jrf.org.uk


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