Children of Alcoholic and/or Substance Abusing Parents  

Highlights  

Based on SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2002 and 2003, an annual average of 18 million women aged 18 or older lived with a biological, foster, step, or adoptive child aged 12 to 17. About 11.9% of mothers (2.1 million) living with youths aged 12 to 17 had serious mental illness during the past year. About 3.2% of the mothers had both a serious mental illness and also reported illicit drug use, binge alcohol use, or heavy alcohol use during the past month. Youths living with a mother who had serious mental illness (SMI) were more likely to have used alcohol or an illicit drug during the past month (26.7%) than youths living with a mother who did not have SMI (18.8%). See The NSDUH Report:  Mother's Serious Mental Illness and Substance Use among Youths

About 680,000 youths (2.7%) aged 12 to 17 in the U.S. have ever been in foster care. Based on SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health, youths who have ever been in foster care had higher rates of any illicit drug use than youths who have never been in foster care (33.6% vs. 21.7%). Youths aged 12 to 17 who were in need of substance abuse treatment in the past year were more likely to have received treatment if they had ever been in foster care. See The NSDUH Report:  Substance Use and Need for Treatment Among Youths Who Have Been in Foster Care

Based on SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2002 almost 5 million adults were alcohol dependent or alcohol abusing and had at least one child younger than age 18 living in their home. Parents with past year alcohol dependence or abuse were more likely to report household turbulence than parents who were not alcohol dependent or alcohol abusing. Household turbulence included people in their household having serious arguments and often insulting or yelling at each other. See The NSDUH Report:  Alcohol Dependence or Abuse Among Parents with Children Living in the Home.

Based on SAMHSA's National Household Survey,  in 2001 more than 6 million children lived with at least one parent who abused or was dependent on alcohol or an illicit drug during the past year.  This involved about 10 percent of children aged 5 or younger, 8 percent of children aged 6 to 11, and 9 percent of youths aged 12 to 17.  See The NHSDA Report:  Children Living with Substance Abusing or Substance Dependent Parents.

Parental Influences on Adolescent Marijuana Use and the Baby Boom Generation    examined family intactness, parental problems,  as well as parental drug use & attitudes and the association with their children's drug use.  Children's characteristics including dropping out of school, emotional problems, etc. were also examined. 

Children at Risk Because of Parental Substance Abuse - estimated the number and percent of infants and children age 17 and younger living with parents who used illegal drugs, cigarettes, or cigarettes, were dependent on drugs or alcohol, or who needed substance abuse treatment.

This page was last updated on December 30, 2008.