Abuse of drugs or alcohol by parents and other caregivers can have negative effects on the health, safety, and well-being of children.

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires States to have policies and procedures in place to notify child protective services (CPS) agencies of substance-exposed newborns (SENs) and to establish a plan of safe care for newborns identified as being affected by illegal substance abuse or withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure. 

There is increasing concern about the negative effects on children when parents or other members of their households abuse alcohol or drugs or engage in other illegal drug-related activity, such as the manufacture of methamphetamines in home-based laboratories. Many States have responded to this problem by expanding the civil definition of child abuse or neglect to include this concern. Specific circumstances that are considered child abuse or neglect in some States include: .

• Manufacturing a controlled substance in the presence of a child or on premises occupied by a child 
• Exposing a child to, or allowing a child to be present where, chemicals or equipment for the manufacture of controlled substances are used or stored 
• Selling, distributing, or giving drugs or alcohol to a child 
• Using a controlled substance that impairs the caregiver’s ability to adequately care for the child 
• Exposing a child to the criminal sale or distribution of drugs ​.

Click on the link below to view your State’s definition of child abuse or neglect. 


This section will focus on understanding addiction, options for treatment, as well as the impact addiction to alcohol and/or drugs has on children and their environment. Please click on the following links to learn more.


• Narcotics Anonymous  - www.na.org

• Alcoholics Anonymous - www.aa.org 

• National Institute on Drug Abuse - www.drugabuse.gov 

• National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - www.niaaa.nih.gov

• Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - www.samhsa.gov

• National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence - www.ncadd.org 

• National Drug Help Hot line: 1-800-662-4357 

• National Alcohol and Drug Dependence Hope line: 1-800-622-2255 

• Al-Anon for Families of Alcoholics: 1-800-344-2666 

These National Numbers will connect you with local resources that can help you. 

parental substance abuse as child abuse

impact of addiction