International COA Week 2023: supporting children affected by parental substance misuse

COA Week 2023

Today (February 12) marks the start of International Children of Addiction (COA) Awareness Week, designed to raise awareness of how children are affected by parental addiction problems.

The international campaign, now in its 14th year, was founded by the National Association for Children of Addiction (NACoA): a membership organization that supports and advocates for people who are either growing up or have grown up in households impacted by their parents’ alcohol or substance misuse.

This COA Awareness Week (February 12-18), NACoA is encouraging people across the country including family and friends, pediatricians, guidance counselors, therapists, social workers, boy scout leaders, coaches and more to share resources and undertake activities to support affected children.

NACoA is also encouraging people to join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #COAWeek2023.

Spotting the signs

According to figures published by NACoA, 1 in 4 children lives in a family impacted by parental addiction. This equates to around 18.25 million children across the US.

They are also three times more likely to be physically, emotionally or sexually abused, and prone to anxiety, depression and anger.

NACoA has published a variety of resources to help people recognise the signs of children affected by a parent’s substance misuse. Some signs to look out for include:

  • Wanting time alone with adults in different settings including teachers, leaders etc. because they are not getting this attention from a parent
  • Failing to get excited about events because promises are so often broken at home
  • Being fearful of other people having contact with their parents, in case others find out about their drinking or drug use
  • Poor academic performance and/or frequent absence from school
  • Talking back to adults or becoming angry/aggressive with other children
  • Appearing to have heightened knowledge of substance misuse e.g. acting differently when the subject of drugs or alcohol is raised

However, it is also important to remember that even though these signs can be indicative of a child affected by parental addiction, one or more of these features may be present in unaffected children on occasion.

Related: What are the physical & mental effects of drug & alcohol misuse?

Home drug and alcohol testing for peace of mind

Whether you have concerns about a loved one misusing drugs or alcohol, or simply want a test for other personal reasons, we’re here to help.

We provide two options for home drug and alcohol testing:

  • Home Urine Drug Test Kit (pack of 3 – $34.95)– this easy-to-use home drug testing kit can detect drugs and their metabolites in a urine sample. The self-contained screening kit includes built-in test strips, allowing you to read the results in just 5 minutes
  • Drug and Alcohol Nail Test (from $99)– this test can detect drug use for a period of up to 12 months prior to samples being collected, with only a sample of fingernail clippings or toenail clippings required. Simply follow the instructions included in your test kit to collect your nail clipping samples and return them to our accredited laboratory for testing

Please be aware that our home drug test kits are for peace of mind only, and the results cannot be used in court or for legal reasons.

Order your test online now or contact our Customer Services team at for confidential advice on which test might be best for you.

Home Drug & Alcohol Tests

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