Substance abuse in the family is still kept secret, and the children in these families are not well enough caught by the support system.

 Image: Dreamstime (with licence)

Aftenbladet focuses on the hidden drug abuse in the family, which affects the children. The background was the launch of the Norwegian film "Kompani Orheim" which was based on the novel of the same name, by Tore Renberg. 

Central to the novel, which has strong features from the author's own childhood, is how the father's drug problems create an insecure upbringing for his son Jarle Klepp. A father who drank on the weekends, but was sober the rest of the week and went to work.

Short summary of drug abuse

Aftenbladet asks the question of how widespread this problem is, and to what extent these children are caught by the support system today. 

Surveys conducted in Rogaland municipalities show that the municipalities' health and care services have very little overview of the more hidden drug abuse that takes place in the home. 

That's what Kjersti Egenberg, director at Rogaland A-center, says.

Goes un-detected

There are considerable dark figures (i.e., unknown cases) when it comes to who drinks so much that it affects their own health and family life. And when the dark figures are so large, it is unlikely that children like Jarle Klepp will be caught, says Egenberg.

But still, there is a far greater attention around relatives of drug addicts than there was in the 1980s, she says. This especially applies to children with parents who intoxicate themselves so much that they have been caught by the support system.

Need for prevention

What she wants are easier ways for people who want to do something about problematic alcohol use.

Previously, people could contact the outpatient clinic at Rogaland A-Senter directly and get advice and help. But since 2004, there has been a duty to refer, where you must be referred via a GP, and for some it is a major measure. But we know that those who come with the drug problem at an early stage need relatively little help to get out of it. That is why easy available preventive services are needed, says director Kjersti Egenberg.