Parental drug and alcohol referrals double during pandemic, says NSPCC

NSPCC has reported parent drug and alcohol referrals doubling in pandemic.

NSPCC has reported parent drug and alcohol referrals doubling in pandemic. - Credit: Getty Images

The number of parents being referred over drug and alcohol misuse has more than doubled since the start of the pandemic.

New figures show the average monthly number of referrals made by the NSPCC Helpline has spiked in this region. 

There were on average 51 referrals to agencies in the East of England per month last year before the first lockdown, but this increased to an average of 126 referrals per month since lockdown measures were introduced at the end of March. 

Alcohol-related admissions to hospitals has soared by 54pc in seven years. Pic: Ian West/PA Wire

Referrals are made when concerns reported to the helpline considered to be serious enough to warrant further investigation. - Credit: PA

In the last 10 months, there has been a total of 1,259 referrals made to agencies in the region. 

Referrals are made to external agencies such as the police and children’s services when concerns reported to the helpline are considered to be serious enough to warrant further investigation or if it is felt a family needs support.

Kam Thandi, head of NSPCC Helpline, said: “Parental substance misuse can have a seriously detrimental impact on the whole family. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have created a perfect storm for families affected by this problem.

“At the NSPCC helpline we’ve not only seen a rise in contacts and referrals but we’re also hearing from families who weren’t previously known to children’s services requiring help and support for substance misuse.”

New figures show the average monthly number of referrals made by the NSPCC Helpline has spiked in this region

New figures show the average monthly number of referrals made by the NSPCC Helpline has spiked in this region - Credit: NSCC

Living in a household where a parent or carer misuses substances does not necessarily mean a child will experience abuse, but it can make it more difficult for parents to provide safe and consistent care and this can lead to abuse or neglect

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The closure of school during the pandemic has left many children at home meaning there is no escape for those living with parental substance misuse.

NSPCC says Child Neglect has more than doubled in Cambridgeshire Picture by Tom Hul

School closures has left many children at home meaning there is no escape for those living with parental substance misuse. - Credit: Archant

Ms Thandi said: “The pressures on families at the moment are unprecedented and it is no surprise that our helpline is hearing that parents and carers are struggling with substance misuse. 

“To keep our children safe it’s vital that those who are relying on drugs and alcohol, to the extent that the care of their children is being compromised, must seek help.”

Anyone concerned about their own drug or alcohol intake affecting their family support can be accessed by contacting the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or visit at adfam.org.uk to find your nearest online support group.