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Hidden Harm – Responding to the needs of children of problem drug users

This report sets out the findings of an inquiry carried out by the Advisory Council, focusing on children in the UK with a parent, parents or other guardian whose drug use has serious negative consequences for themselves and those around them.

The report sets out 48 recommendations and the following 6 key messages:

  • There are between 250,000 and 350,000 children of problem drug users in the UK - about 1 child for every problem drug user.
  • Parental problem drug use causes serious harm to children at every age from conception to adulthood.
  • Reducing the harm to children from parental problem drug use should become a main objective of policy and practice.
  • Effective treatment of the parent can have major benefits for the child.
  • By working together, services can take many practical steps to protect and impove the health and well-being of affected children.
  • The number of affected children is only likely decrease when the number of problem drug users decreases.