Alcohol and substance use disorders can take a toll on families with young children. They can make daily activities more challenging and impair parents' decision-making and bonding with their children. Head Start programs can help prevent or intervene early when a family has a substance use disorder. They can support families to make positive choices and create safe and supportive relationships that prevent and reduce violence. Programs can also connect families to resources that promote healthy behaviors.
Talking About Substance Use: COVID-19, Racial Equity, and Stigma
Watch this webinar to explore the impact of COVID-19 on substance use, with a focus on issues related to equity and stigma.
Understanding Addiction and Substance Use Stigma: What You Can Do To Help
Supporting families through substance use and recovery is a Head Start priority. Learn about addiction and substance use stigma and how you can make a difference in your work.
5 Things to Know About the Opioid Epidemic and Its Effect on Children
Opioids are potentially highly addictive drugs. They are available in illegal forms like heroin, as well as legal ones like oxycodone, hydrocodone, or morphine, which are available through a prescription. A drastic increase in the abuse of prescription opioids has gained national attention on multiple fronts, and for good reason. This is what you need to know about the epidemic and how it affects children.
Effects of Drugs
Drug use can hurt the people who take drugs and those around them. This includes families, children, and unborn babies. Learn more about the effects of specific substances and the potential impacts on children and families.
Prescription Opioids: What You Need to Know
Opioids are a powerful class of potentially addictive drugs that may be prescribed legally for pain relief, or they can be bought illegally. This handout from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes the risks and side effects of opioid use, as well as alternatives.
State and National Fact Sheets – America's Opioid Crisis: The Unseen Impact on Children
The opioid crisis has significant and multifaceted impacts on child and family health and well-being. As families affected by parental substance use disorders around the country face child welfare involvement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is working to support family-centered treatment-focused approaches. These fact sheets are the first to synthesize national and state data related to the opioid crisis, child welfare systems, Medicaid, and child health.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Learn the facts about FASDs. These resources define FASDs and offer strategies to help prevent women from drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
Identifying and Working with Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs)
This webinar provides teachers and home visitors with strategies to help identify and improve outcomes for children who were prenatally exposed to alcohol.
The Role of Integrated Care in a Medical Home for Patients with a FASD
This report from AAP is intended to foster pediatrician awareness of screening approaches for prenatal alcohol exposure in clinical practice. It guides management of a child with an FASD after the diagnosis is made and summarizes available resources for FASD management.
Alcohol Use in Pregnancy
Women who are or may be pregnant should not drink alcohol. This includes women who are trying to get pregnant and those who are at risk of becoming pregnant because they do not use effective contraception (birth control). This resource outlines the dangers of alcohol use during pregnancy.
FASDs Program Toolkit
This AAP toolkit was developed to raise awareness, promote surveillance and screening, and ensure that all children affected by FASDs receive appropriate and timely interventions.
Basics About FASDs
This handout provides an overview of FASDs, including the effects on infants such as physical problems and problems with behavior and learning.
Alcohol and Substance-Exposed Pregnancies
This course provides a basic overview of the scope and impacts of alcohol and drug use during pregnancy, as well as a foundation for supporting expectant mothers. It is a self-study option for maternal and child health programs staff working with pregnant women and their families.
How Lifestyle Affects Breastmilk: Smoking, Drugs, and Alcohol
A woman's lifestyle may affect her breast milk and have an impact on the baby. During breastfeeding, it is important for a woman not to consume alcohol, smoke, or take drugs. These substances are known to pass through the breast milk. This information can help mothers to understand better about the consequences of smoking, using drugs, and drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
Use of Tobacco, Alcohol, and Illegal Drugs
Head Start staff and volunteers should not be impaired due to the use of alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medication during program hours. Tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drug use should be prohibited at all times on the premises, in both indoor and outdoor environments, and in any vehicles used by the program. In family child care settings, tobacco and alcohol should be inaccessible to children.
Understanding How Smoking Impacts Oral Health
This issue of Brush Up on Oral Health describes some of the oral health problems related to smoking that can affect parents, pregnant women, and children. It offers tips Head Start staff can use to help parents and pregnant women quit smoking.
Help Prevent Asthma: Keep Your Home Smoke-Free
Explore this Healthy Breathing at Home tip sheet for strategies to help prevent asthma in young children. Learn why children should be in places that are smoke-free at all times.
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety
Last Updated: August 17, 2022