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

The risks to and impacts on children of alcohol/drug use by parents and carers are known and well-researched. Alcohol and/or drug use during pregnancy can have significant health impacts on the unborn child. Parental alcohol and/or drug use can also result in sustained abuse, neglect, maltreatment, behavioural problems, disruption in primary caregiving, social isolation and stigma of children. Alcohol and/or drug using 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.

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