Families Affected by Parental Substance Use
Children whose parents or caregivers use drugs or alcohol are at increase risk of short- and long-term sequelae ranging from medical problems to psychosocial and behavioral challenges. In the course of providing health care services to children, pediatricians are likely to encounter families affected by parental substance use and are in a unique position to intervene. Therefore, pediatricians need to know how to assess a child’s risk in the context of a parent’s substance use. This AAP outlines the scope of the problem, and includes sections on the epidemiology of substance use, short and long term implications of fetal exposure, psychosocial impact of parental use on the family, medical, psychological and behavioral symptoms of children exposed, recommendations for pediatricians with tips on how best to collaborate with other providers. The clinical report also includes links to relevant websites.