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Parental substance misuse and mental health


Children of Alcohol Dependent Parents Engagement (CAPE) is a project run by The Children’s Society upskilling professionals who are in contact with children affected by parental substance misuse.  They have tools, videos, best practice and publications to develop your understanding about the impact of substance misuse on parenting.


The Society for the Study of Addiction has quick reference guides for professionals about different drugs, what they look like and the effects.  


This video made by Nottingham Council Safeguarding Children Board together with NHS Nottingham City CCG, helps professionals to rethink the early signs of child neglect with the use of language when children are recorded as ‘Did Not Attend’.  It prompts us to think about patterns of neglect and reaching out and seeking help for children who are having their needs neglected.


Substance misuse in young people


Drugs - Most young people come into contact with drugs in some form or another at some point in their life. The majority of teens decide not to take them but if they do it can be for a variety of reasons: rebellion, peer pressure or simply curiosity. Talking openly to your child or the child you work with about drugs and the different risks and effects they have, can help them feel more confident and comfortable about making the right choices both now, and in the future.


Legal Highs - Legal highs are substances which mimic the effects of drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy or cannabis. The main difference is that they’re not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Despite mimicking the effects of illegal drugs, they’re chemically and structurally different enough to avoid being officially classified as illegal substances.


One of the biggest problems with legal highs is that little, or no research has gone into their effects, especially their long-term effects. However, we know that if they produce similar psychological effects as cocaine, ecstasy or cannabis, they are also likely to carry similar risks. And some will have new risks that we don’t know about yet.


So, legal highs are far from harmless. For example, substances with similar health risks to cocaine and ecstasy can increase the chances of seizures, comas, and in the worst cases, death.


Where to go for support 


Essex Young People's Drug and Alcohol Service 0844 4991323

NHS - getting help with drug addiction

Talk to Frank

Open Road - drug and alcohol recovery service Essex


Youth vaping


Essex Public Health are working in partnership with young people, parents, carers, schools and wider stakeholders to reduce current usage and prevent uptake of vaping amongst children and young people in Essex.   


The Training Effect, The Children’s Society and Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service have worked together to produce a short 20 minute podcast on Youth Vaping in Essex discussing information on the potential drivers behind Youth Vaping, knowledge and awareness around vaping including potential health impacts for young people and how to have supportive conversations with young people.