U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Children Need Help Too!
Children in families experiencing alcohol
or drug abuse need attention, guidance and
support. They may be growing up in homes in
which the problems are either denied or
These children need to have their experiences
validated. They also need safe, reliable adults
in whom to confide and who will support
them, reassure them, and provide them with
appropriate help for their age. They need to
have fun and just be kids.
Families with alcohol and drug problems usually
have high levels of stress and confusion. High
stress family environments are a risk factor for
early and dangerous substance use, as well as
mental and physical health problems.
It is important to talk honestly with children
about what is happening in the family and to
help them express their concerns and feelings.
Children need to trust the adults in their lives
and to believe that they will support them.
Children living with alcohol or drug abuse in
the family can benefit from participating in
educational support groups in their school
student assistance programs. Those age 11
and older can join Alateen groups, which meet
in community settings and provide healthy
connections with others coping with similar
issues. Being associated with the activities of a
faith community can also help.
Resources for Information and Help
There is help available in your local community.
Look in the Yellow Pages under Alcoholism
for treatment programs and self-help groups.
Call your county health department and ask
for licensed treatment programs in your
community. Keep trying until you find the
right help for your loved one, yourself and your
family. Ask a family therapist for a referral to a
trained interventionist or, call the Intervention
Resource Center at 1-888-421-4321.
Al-Anon Family Groups
Adult Children of Alcoholics
For a pastoral counseling center in your
community, visit www.aapc.org
For More Information
SAMHSA’s National Helpline
National Association for Children
National Council on Alcoholism and
Happens in the
Best of Families
…and It Hurts
It doesn’t have to be that way