February 14, 2011

State of Alabama
Press Release: Mental Health, Department of


MONTGOMERY – An estimated 25 percent of all children in the United States (about 27.8 million) are affected by or exposed to a family alcohol problem. During this year’s National Children of Alcoholics Week, an annual observance sponsored by the National Association for Children of Alcoholics and runs February 13-19 this year, the Alabama Department of Mental Health joins with other organizations and individuals to raise awareness of the problems faced by children of alcohol-dependent parents.

Dr. Tammy Peacock, associate commissioner for the Substance Abuse Services Division of the Alabama Department of Mental Health says, “Increasing awareness of the challenges youth face when they grow up in a home where alcohol abuse or dependence is present is an important first step in meeting the needs of many children.” According to Peacock, because the impact on children is sometimes not as visible, the challenges faced by these children are often not recognized by society.

This year’s theme, “A Celebration of Hope and Healing” also aims to let children living with addiction in their family know that it is not their fault that a parent is an alcoholic. Besides feelings of guilt or misunderstanding that sometimes stem from a parent who is an alcoholic, the harmful impact on a child of an alcoholic can be widespread and include economic consequences, impaired social development, increased potential for abuse, diminished educational success, as well as medical, behavioral and mental health issues.

Peacock says, “While the majority of youth who grow up in homes where one or more parents has an alcohol addiction go on to lead productive lives, the developmental impact should not be minimized. Our task is not only to support the child, but also to support the parents’ access to treatment when needed, reduce the stigma associated with alcohol and substance use disorders, and to understand that when we work with children we must work with the whole family. When we support the stability and functioning of the family, the child will benefit.”



Information about substance use disorders and access to treatment in the state of Alabama is available by contacting ADMH’s Substance Abuse Services Division at (334) 242-3961 and by visiting ADMH’s Web site at www.mh.alabama.gov.

For more information on Children of Alcoholics Week, visit the National Association for Children of Alcoholics Web site at www.nacoa.org.

  • For more information, visit http://mh.alabama.gov
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