Report reveals that about 1 in 8 children lived with at least one parent who had a past year substance use disorder

Thursday, August 24, 2017

About 1 in 8 children (8.7 million) aged 17 or younger lived in households with at least one parent who had a past year substance use disorder (SUD), according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SUDs are characterized by recurrent use of alcohol or other drugs (or both) that results in significant impairment.

In addition, the report shows that about 1 in 10 children (7.5 million) lived in households with at least one parent who had a past year alcohol use disorder and about 1 in 35 children (2.1 million) lived in households with at least one parent who had an illicit drug use disorder in the past year.

“Substance use disorders can have a profound influence on the lives of people and their families, particularly their children,” said Dr. Kim Johnson, director for SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. “The data in this report highlights the potential breadth of substance use prevention and treatment needs for the whole family.”

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) Report: Children Living with Parents Who Have a Substance Use Disorder is based on combined data from the 2009 to 2014 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. The report is available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_3223/ShortReport-3223.html

Many resources are available to help children when a parent uses substances or has an SUD. SAMHSA provides information and resources for professionals who work with these families: https://ncsacw.samhsa.gov/.

For additional SAMHSA resources, visit https://www.samhsa.gov/treatment/.

For more information, contact the SAMHSA Press Office at 240-276-2130.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

Last Updated: 08/24/2017