THE number of North-East children in need due to drug or alcohol misuse in the family home is rising, according to Government statistics.

Drug and alcohol addiction experts at the UK Addiction Treatment Group say the figures, released by The Department for Education, are 'just the tip of the iceberg' .

And UKAT fears the issue could get worse next year following the stresses of 2020.

Across the region, episodes of alcohol misuse by the parent, identified by social workers following an assessment of households, rose from 3,690 in 2018 to 4,900 in 2020.

Alcohol misuse by the child also went up 45 per cent, from 620 in 2018 to 900 in 2020.

There was a 40 per cent rise in drug misuse identified in the parents of households across the region, over the two years.

In 2020, 135 children were identified as abusing alcohol and 176 misused drugs across County Durham.

In Darlington, children identified as misusing drink or drugs almost halved but the number of parents misusing drugs rose from 99 in 2018 to 153 this year.

Nuno Albuqeruque, group treatment lead at UKAT, said: "This report is truly saddening as it paints such a graphic and telling picture of how some families living across the North-East are living.

“We must remember that these aren’t just numbers, they’re parents and children themselves who are misusing drugs, alcohol or even both behind closed doors, resulting in those children requiring further help.

“Our immediate concern now is how much worse their situations may have become since the Covid-19 crisis.

"It has been a difficult year for everyone but if households across the North-East had a pre-existing problem with drugs and alcohol then that abuse could well have worsened in the last twelve months, placing more children in need of more help.”

UKAT has also seen the number of people using its support services rise. Information on how children can help parents struggling with drug or alcohol abuse is available online at