Booker prize winner Shuggie Bain sheds light on a growing issue for young people in lockdown

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I’m seeing more young people affected by their parent’s drug and alcohol use. We need to support these families through this difficult time.

By Alison Henderson, Family Worker at We Are With You in Lancashire

There is a passage in this year’s Booker Prize winning novel Shuggie Bain that really hits home. It’s a semi-autobiographical tale of a young boy growing up in Pithead in Glasgow with a mother who loves him and means well, but the hardship of her life leads her to take solace in ‘the drink’. At one point Shuggie returns from school and loiters outside, desperately looking for signs of whether his Mother has been on a binge before entering. The next morning he brings her a mug of warm beer when she wakes up to help quiet down ‘the shakes.’

The latest figures from Children in Need show that in 2019/20 over 72,000 children were deemed to be at risk from their parent’s alcohol misuse and over 70,000 from their drug misuse (with some crossover between the two). This is up from just over 64,000 and 62,00 respectively in 2017/18. .

I work in a young person’s drug and alcohol support service and regularly work directly with families affected by the issue. I fear that the pandemic has led to even more young people being adversely affected by parental drug or alcohol use. In my work, I see how parents who have an issue with drugs or alcohol love their children deeply, but are often haunted by their past and what’s going on around them. Research has shown that people with an alcohol issue before the pandemic started are most likely to have increased their drinking since March, with the same likely true for people who use drugs.

Read the full article on We Are With You’s blog.


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The full version of this content is available on We Are With You’s blog.