Hundreds of Wigan parents need help for drink or drug use

Nearly 600 parents in the borough are receiving treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, it has been revealed.
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Figures published by Public Health England and analysed by UK Addiction Treatment Group show 591 of the Wiganers who started a treatment programme between April 2019 and March 2020 were parents.

Across the North West, more than 12,000 parents sought help for their drug or alcohol use, with 37 per cent of those (4,537) living with their children at the time.

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The data was pulled from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) and could mean these people began an in-patient, community or residential rehabilitation treatment programme to get clean and sober.

Hundreds of parents are getting treatment for their drug and alcohol useHundreds of parents are getting treatment for their drug and alcohol use
Hundreds of parents are getting treatment for their drug and alcohol use

Public Health England released a guide to these figures, stating that “not all children of parents who use alcohol or drugs problematically will experience significant harm, but children growing up in these families are at a greater risk of adverse outcomes”.

Similarly, in 2019-20 the Department for Education found that “parents using drugs was a factor in around 17 per cent of child in need cases, and parental alcohol use was a factor in 16 per cent”.

UKAT’s analysis showed at least a quarter of the average proportion of parents living in each local authority started treatment for problematic drug and alcohol use last year, with 26 per cent in Wigan.

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Nuno Albuquerque, head of treatment for UKAT, said: “Unfortunately, addiction can affect anyone, at any time. Parents are under a lot of stress and some have taken to drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms. Thankfully, these figures represent the bravery of parents who have asked for help, but we know there will be other parents out there abusing drugs and alcohol- especially after such a difficult 12 months- who have yet to get the treatment they need.

“The worry is the impact substance abuse has on children, whether the parents live in the same house or not. Kids copy and learn from their parents and our fear is that the vicious circle of addiction for families who don’t ask for help will continue.”

Public Health England stated that while 50 per cent of people starting drug and alcohol treatment each year are parents, there are still many others not receiving help.

It is estimated that 80 per cent of alcohol-dependent parents and 60 per cent of parents dependent on heroin are not getting treatment.

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Joanne Willmott, director for homes and communities at Wigan Council, said: “We Are With You provide drug and alcohol support for adults and young people in Wigan and Leigh. They have a dedicated young person’s team who support children and young people who are experiencing parental substance misuse.

“We are pleased that parents are engaged in support and are taking positive steps to address their drug or alcohol misuse, and that young people are able to access the support that they need.

“Referrals for support can be made by contacting We Are With You on 01942 487578 or by webchat on”

Help and advice for drugs and alcohol support is also available from

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