Substance misuse can involve alcohol and/or drug misuse (including prescription as well as illegal drugs).

The risks to and impacts on children of alcohol/drug-misusing parents and carers are known and well-researched. Alcohol and/or drug misuse during pregnancy can have significant health impacts on the unborn child. Parental alcohol and/or drug misuse can also result in sustained abuse, neglect, maltreatment, behavioural problems, disruption in primary caregiving, social isolation and stigma of children. Alcohol and/or drug-misusing parents/carers often lack the ability to provide structure or discipline in family life. Poor parenting can impede child development through poor attachment and the long-term effects of maltreatment can be complex. The capability of parents/carers to be consistent, warm and emotionally responsive to their children can be undermined.