Drug and alcohol abuse by Barking and Dagenham parents and children soars

Police say they have 'prepared' for the anticipated rise in child and adult domestic violence report

Police say they have 'prepared' for the anticipated rise in child and adult domestic violence reports as lockdown is lifted further. Photo: Contributed - Credit: Contributed

Drug and alcohol abuse by children and their parents has significantly increased across Barking and Dagenham over the past two years, according to a report. 

The research, based on an assessment of households by social workers, revealed that drug abuse by children had gone up by 342 per cent, from 43 cases to 190, between 2018 and 2020. 

Alcohol misuse by children saw an even bigger increase, up 675 per cent, from 8 cases to 62, during the same period. 

The number of parents abusing drugs and alcohol was also on the rise, with increases of 170 per cent (127 cases to 343) and 301 per cent (101 cases to 405) respectively. 

The shocking figures have been released by the UK Addiction Treatment (UKAT) group and are based on recent Department for Education (DfE) statistics. 

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The DfE report shows the number of children across the country, who are in need due to the misuse of drugs or alcohol by their parents or themselves. 

Nuno Albuquerque, group treatment lead at UKAT, told the Post: “Without a doubt, the situation in homes across Barking and Dagenham needs to be looked at closely and action needs to be taken.

Nuno Albuquerque, group treatment lead at UKAT

Nuno Albuquerque, group treatment lead at UKAT - Credit: UKAT

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“We must remember that these aren’t just numbers, they’re parents and children themselves who are misusing drugs, alcohol or even both behind closed doors, resulting in those children requiring further help."

“Our immediate concern now is how much worse their situations may have become since the Covid crisis."

A spokesperson for Barking and Dagenham Council said its new data recording system means more cases have been able to be captured.

They said: “This data is drawn from our Children’s Social Care recording system, captured when social workers completed statutory assessments.

"While it is true that there is an increase in general demand for children’s social care services – we are completing 70 per cent more assessments than in 2018 – the most important factor is that between 2018 and 2020 the council changed its social care IT system.

"The new system enables more detail to be captured, more accurately and, therefore, we are able to report with more precision where factors such as these are prevalent in a family."

UKAT has put together free information on how children can help parents struggling with drug or alcohol abuse here.

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