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Immediate Access for help and advice

How Parental Drug Addiction Can Affect Children

A teenage girl who was placed in care because of her parents’ drug addictions has been found hanged, with evidence of self-harming on her body. Sixteen-year-old Aleysha McLoughlin had been living in foster care; a day before she hanged herself, she had been discharged from A&E after being told she was ‘having a bad day.’


When Aleysha’s body was examined, it was found that she had scars on her arms and thighs, which although probably years old, spelled out words ‘ruin, ‘fat’ and ‘hate’. Despite the evidence of previous self-harming, Aleysha was flourishing in school, and she was expected to get straight A’s in her GCSEs.

Harmful Relationship

However, when Aleysha was fourteen-years-old, her sister made contact, and the pair began to see their biological mother. Aleysha soon started having problems, and her behaviour changed. She started running away from home and spending more and more time with her sister. At one point, her foster mother had to take her to hospital after the teenager overdosed; on another occasion, the police called to say Aleysha and her sister had been stopped before they could jump off a nearby bridge together.

The day before her death in April 2014, her foster mother, Beverley Sharples, received a call from Aleysha’s school informing her that she had been self-harming. Mrs Sharples took the teenager to hospital, and she was referred to the RAID team. However, the medic she spoke to told her she was having a bad day and sent her home.

The next day she was up at 10am but stayed at home while Mrs Sharples ran some errands. On her return at 2pm, Mrs Sharples found Aleysha’s body upstairs. Her great aunt, Carol Kerfoot, who Aleysha had lived with before being placed in foster care, said, “She always maintained she didn’t want anything to do with her real parents but then she did. Her sister got in touch over Facebook, and it snowballed from there.”

The Damage Drug Addiction Can Have on Families

Drug addiction affects the person with the addiction, but it also affects their families. When one person within the family suffers from a drug addiction, it can destroy family life and cause relationship breakdowns. When one or both parents suffer from a drug addiction, the children usually suffer the most. Children from homes in which substance abuse is an issue are often neglected, and their home life will have no structure. Many children, like Aleysha, will be taken into care and will often suffer emotional problems as a result.

Children placed in care due to a parent’s drug addiction may feel abandoned and have separation issues. These children can be affected for a long time because of their ordeal, and some will even turn to alcohol or drugs themselves as a way to cope with the struggles they face on a daily basis.

Another issue with parental drug addiction is the psychological damage it can cause. Many young children do not understand why their parents act the way they do and may feel that they are to blame. They will not realise or be aware that addiction is to blame.

Help for Drug Addiction

Drug addiction, like all addictions, is an illness, and it requires treatment. If you or a loved one is suffering from a drug addiction, then there is help available. UK-Rehab is a referral service that puts clients in touch with suitable rehabilitation centres all over the UK.

Our team of fully trained addiction specialists can assist clients by providing them with much-needed information and by helping them to find adequate care for their addiction. We are a free service -call today for advice and support.


  • http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2989461/Schoolgirl-cut-words-fat-hate-arm-hanged-telling-foster-mother-having-bad-day.html
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