MORE than 1,400 calls have been made to a charity helpline over the past three years by people in Scotland concerned about alcohol, drug or other substance abuse around children.

Last year alone the NSPCC received 494 contacts from Scotland.

And, across the UK, 8,500 people contacted the charity in 2015/16 to describe potential substance misuse among adults when children and young people were in their care or nearby.

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This works out at an average of almost one contact every hour.

The number is up by 16 per cent since 2013/14, when 7,300 people got in touch.

Matt Forde, national head of service for NSPCC Scotland, said: “Drugs and alcohol can have hugely damaging effects around children and it’s clearly troubling to see a rise over time in reports of this problem to our helpline.

“Substance misuse all too often leads to the neglect or abuse of a child and it’s absolutely crucial that we do all we can to stop that.

“The NSPCC provides services directly to families suffering from these problems to help them overcome them and provide their children with a safe and secure upbringing.

“But everyone has a duty to look out for potential signs of distress and the NSPCC’s helpline is there to provide help and support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

The figures have been released as the UK marks the start of Children of Alcoholics Week, which aims to raise awareness of the suffering associated with parental alcohol problems.