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Drugs: Misuse

Volume 482: debated on Tuesday 4 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of children under the age of 11 years in England have a parent who has had contact with a drug service, as recorded by Drug Action Team statistics in (a) Nottinghamshire and (b) England. [Official Report, 18 December 2008, Vol. 485, c. 9MC.] (225273)

The National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) collects data from drug services about clients in structured drug treatment and the treatment they receive, these include whether the client being treated is a parent of a child aged 16 or under or is living with a child aged 16 or under.

The number of clients in Nottinghamshire, in structured drug treatment in 2007-08, who are parents of a child aged 16 or under, or who are living with a child aged 16 or under is given in the following table, along with the total number of such clients for the whole of England. However, these are relatively new data items, whose collection started in April 2006, and as such are not as complete as other NDTMS data, therefore the following figures must be treated as indicative only.



Clients who are parents



Clients who are living with children



It is important to note that:

clients who are parents of children aged 16 or under may not be currently living with their child, i.e. the child may be living with the client’s partner, living with other family member or be in care;

clients who are living with a child may not be the child’s parent; and

it is possible that there is overlap between these two groups.

Additionally, Nottinghamshire County Drug and Alcohol Action Team recently published a needs assessment on young people and drug treatment, estimating there to be 2,424 children and young people with parents in drug treatment during 2006-07 and up to 22,000 children and young people with parents with problematic alcohol use. A copy of the needs assessment has been placed in the Library. These are local estimates, not verified National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) data.

Following the focus on drug-using parents in the new drug strategy “Drugs: protecting families and communities” (2008), published by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, the NTA will be working with local drugs partnerships to improve the services available to parents who misuse drugs. Partnerships will receive local information on drug treatment clients who are parents, which they will be able to use in their treatment planning to help improve local service provision to this client group.