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Parental Substance Misuse

Problem drug use in the UK is characterised by the use of multiple drugs, often by injection, and is strongly associated with socio-economic deprivation and other factors that may affect parenting capacity. It is typically chaotic and unpredictable. Serious health and social consequences are common.

Parental problem drug use can and often does compromise children’s health and development at every stage from conception onwards.

Maternal drug use during pregnancy can seriously affect foetal growth, but assessing the impact is usually impossible, with multiple drugs being taken in various doses against a background of other unfavourable circumstances. There is serious concern about the effect of cocaine on foetal development. Heroin and other opiates, cocaine and benzodiazepines can all cause severe neonatal withdrawal symptoms. The damaging effects of tobacco and alcohol are well established, and cannabis is not risk free. Maternal drug injecting carries the risk of transmission to the baby of HIV and viral hepatitis. Maternal nutrition may be poor.

After birth, the child may be exposed to many sustained or intermittent hazards as a result of parental problem drug use. These include poverty; physical and emotional abuse or neglect; dangerously inadequate supervision; other inappropriate parenting practices; intermittent or permanent separation; inadequate accommodation and frequent changes in residence; toxic substances in the home; interrupted or otherwise unsatisfactory education and socialisation; exposure to criminal or other inappropriate adult behaviour; and social isolation. They often interact with and exacerbate other parental difficulties such as educational under-attainment and mental health problems.

The adverse consequences for children are typically multiple and cumulative and will vary according to the child’s stage of development. They include failure to thrive; blood-borne virus infections; incomplete immunisation and otherwise inadequate health care; a wide range of emotional, cognitive, behavioural and other psychological problems; early substance misuse and offending behaviour; and poor educational attainment. These can range greatly in severity and may often be subtle and difficult to detect. (AMCD Inquiry 2011)

Local Resources

CGL The Base is a free and confidential drug and alcohol service for young people up to the age of 21 in Kirklees. They provide friendly support around drugs, NPS (previously known as ‘legal highs’) and/or alcohol.

Contact CGL:
Brian Jackson House,
2 New North Parade,
West Yorkshire,
HD1 5JP.
Telephone: 01484 541 589

YouTube Animations – The Base Kirklees are excited to release their new animations which are aimed at young people who may be impacted their own or someone else’s substance use. The animations have been developed by young people who have each been supported our service and portray their own personal, real life stories with the aim of encouraging other young people to seek advice and/or support when needed. The animations are available to be used by professionals and/or families to help promote discussions around substance use with young people or for young people to watch themselves as an informative resource. For more information or to make a referral, please contact The Base on 01484541589.

Chane Grow Live Kirklees – MPACT service ( This video outlines a service provided for the people of Kirklees. MPACT – Moving Parent and Children Together, helps reconnect parents or carers, with drug or alcohol struggles, with their children. For more information please contact Change Grow Live Kirklees on 01484 353333 and ask to speak to one of our social workers.

National Resources

Useful resources for Parents / Carers

CHART Kirklees
Community Links
Dewsbury office
3 Wellington Street
WF13 1LY

Tel: 01924 438383

CHART Kirklees
Community Links
12 Station Street

Tel: 01484 353333

About the service

Community Links works with CHART Kirklees to offer a free and confidential drug and alcohol service for adults in Kirklees (Huddersfield and Dewsbury).

There is a range of treatment, recovery and support services for those who have concerns about their drug or alcohol use, as well as support and advice to family members and concerned others.

CHART Kirklees provides:

  • Advice, guidance and support to safely reduce or give up using drugs and/or alcohol
  • Group recovery programmes and help to access mutual aid
  • One-to-one key working and specialist counselling
  • Needle exchange and harm reduction advice
  • Blood borne virus screening
  • Naloxone
  • Signposting and referrals on to specialist services

The service is open to anyone in Kirklees, aged over 18 who would like to work around their alcohol use and require support to do so in their own home.

The service operates: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 9.30am – 5pm and Tuesdays 1pm – 7pm.

Appointments can be arranged outside of these times to meet individual need as agreed in advance with the service manager.

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