Children Living with Adults with Substance Use Problems

Substance abuse (both alcohol and drug) by a parent or caregiver can have a significant effect on the development of a young child.

According to the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth, there has been a 600% increase from 2003-2009 In New Hampshire of babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)-babies born addicted to opioids. An informal survey of Northern Human Services practitioners providing mental health services to children in the Berlin/Lancaster area in 2016 found that family substance abuse was impacting normal child development 67% of the time.

Although the use of opioids has reached crisis proportions in NH and Coos County recently, alcohol continues to be the most significantly abused substance, affecting more people than drugs. We also know that use of drugs and/or alcohol early in life is a predictor of future patterns of abuse.

Data Note:These data are from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, and represent self report survey responses from young people in grades 9-12 in the North Country. They include the following school districts: White Mountains Regional, Haverhill Cooperative, Gorham Randolph Shelburne Cooperative, and Northumberland.

Data Source: 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS); New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services, Health Statistics and Data Management. YRBS data can be accessed online.

Related Research: Much of the foundational research on the health and social consequences of early adversity is referred to as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Read about the history of the research, as well as ongoing community initiatives to prevent ACEs, here.