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Last Updated: Friday, 7 May 2004, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
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Your comments on the Invisible Kids programme.

Due to the high number of e-mails we get we cannot guarantee to publish every single message we receive. We may also edit some e-mails for legal reasons and for purposes of clarity and length.

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I tuned in by accident and was instantly struck by your Invisible Kids programme. Well done to your team on their realistic and simple portrayal of a national programme. It was heart wrenching. However, I'm saddened to read comments relating to the Scottish accent - regional dialect is always a little difficult to follow, make the effort.
Johanna Dickson, Aylesford, Kent

The stories were heartbreaking, but what about the even bigger mountain of children of alcoholics
Sue Elliott, Glasgow
If Blair was to stop wasting billions of pounds on using weapons to inflict even more suffering, but instead using the UK people's money on the UK people's plights, such as the dreadful situation where children are left to suffer as much as is obvious under the circumstances depicted in this fine programme, then perhaps the beginnings of a better future might just start.
McNish, London

Superb programme. Fantastic performances by the young cast. Drugs (and crime) have become the no.1 social issue in many areas - especially those that have lost their 'industrial' purpose. More attention needs to be devoted to it.
Tim Dennell, Sheffield UK

I sat down to watch last night with my partner, whose father was a heroin addict, hoping it would be useful and insightful for us both to watch. However, we could only put up with about 10 minutes of it, having child actors who really hammed it up with their 'woe is me' expressions detracted from the real issues and made it all into syrup -y nonsense. What a wasted opportunity.
Lottie Blunden, Northampton, UK

I work for a Carers Project in Glasgow which offers support to young people who care for someone with an illness, disability, drug or alcohol misuse issue or a mental health issue. I felt this programme was really effective by being extremely simple. There were no gimmicks or overbearing commentary, just Young People getting the opportunity to tell their stories.

However, I felt the programme would have been more balanced if it had examined some of the 12 agencies which work with young people affected by the drug addiction of a parent. This would have helped to identify the gaps which exist in the service and would have highlighted the work which still requires to be undertaken by statutory and voluntary organisations. Perhaps there could be a follow up programme which would examine the services and supports, or lack there of, available?
Joanne O'Donnell, Glasgow, Scotland

The stories were heartbreaking, but what about the even bigger mountain of children of alcoholics. Alcoholism is a far bigger problem than drug addiction but is easier to hide. The problem affects the whole family, not just the partner - the children cannot walk away and can be afraid to talk unless prompted - and who prompts them? Just because they are playing with their toys seemingly absorbed doesn't mean they are OK. As with drugs it then affects them for the rest of their lives. The fear, shame, and anger are just as badly felt as by the children of drug addicts. Both problems need to be addressed more seriously. (from a 48 year old child)
Sue Elliott, Glasgow, Scotland

The programme was absolutely compelling. You handled an extremely difficult and sensitive subject in an unbelievable way
Julian Green, London
Whilst the programme undoubtedly highlighted the issues, experiences and impacts facing children living in the context of parental substance misuse, the fact that many are 'young carers' could have been made explicit. Indeed the youngsters portrayed were undertaking the role of carer both for their parents and younger siblings, causing a range of impacts in its own right.
Emma Christie, Aberdeen, Scotland

Having been brought up in a family with two drug addicted parents I would like to see a similar programme aimed at the effects this situation has in later life. I thought that the programme was done in a compassionate and sensitive way. However I had waited a very long time to see awareness of this issue highlighted. There needs to be more advice and support readily available, and the problem needs to be acknowledged more widely as children from these families often feel that they are the only ones and feel very isolated. I was slightly disappointed that the programme didn't go further into the consequences on the child's self esteem and the knock on effect in adulthood. There don't seem to be many organisations solely aimed at this problem which is a shame. I would like to see more programmes similar to the Panorama one.
F Mackay, London

Did anyone watch the same programme as me? It clearly said during the text that the problem of children suffering due to drug addicted parents was a national problem but this was simply focused around Glasgow. All the figures shown said "UK" or "Nationally". We should not be fighting over the "Where" but concentrating on the "Why". Heart wrenching but compelling viewing.
Joanne, Harlow, UK

Watched the programme and cannot believe the destruction these people are putting their kids through. It must be a nightmare no other words can describe it. My heart goes out to these kids, God help them.
John Mclaughlin, Glasgow

This programme was excellent; a gritty and realistic portrayal of what life is like for the children of substance misusers
Julia Smith, Basingstoke
I am a therapist in a women's residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation unit. We are one of the few units in the country that take women with their children. This programme was excellent; a gritty and realistic portrayal of what life is like for the children of substance misusers. I work with women that are desperately trying to turn their lives around so that they can become the mothers their children want. The biggest problem they face after rehabilitation is resettlement and obtaining suitable accommodation for themselves and their children. Every drug professional I come in to contact with faces the same problem in that they cannot secure suitable follow-on accommodation for women with children. I think that to investigate this problem would be the next logical step for Panorama. Please, please research this issue and bring to the attention of the government the holes in their current drugs policy.
Julia Smith, Basingstoke, Hampshire

The programme was absolutely compelling. You handled an extremely difficult and sensitive subject in an unbelievable way. It seemed as though you had done nothing more than put a few children in front of a camera and asked them to tell their stories. The amount of time and effort that must have gone into making this seem so effortless must have been considerable and the skill of your film teams in making themselves so completely invisible that I felt that these children were talking to me in confidence, cannot be praised too highly.

Panorama has a long and glorious history of producing high quality documentaries and so my expectations from you are very high. In this programme you have exceeded yourselves beyond all my expectations. My only regret is that with the timing of this broadcast other children would not have seen it. I have four children at school and I hope that their schools will have the foresight and courage to use this material as part of their PSHE curriculum.

I do not think that many (any?) children would cope with this programme in one piece, nor at all without the help and support to enable them to deal with these issues. I was thinking "These children have lost their childhood" and a few minutes later one of the girls used this precise expression.
Julian Green, London, England

As a social worker, working with a range of client groups but mainly children and families, I am increasingly concerned by the level of alcohol/drug misuse by parents.

Unfortunately, as a profession, social work does not receive the same political interest as other sections of the public sector workers such as nursing and teaching (which also do a very difficult and necessary job), resulting in a lack of awareness by the public as to just how dysfunctional large sections of our society are becoming.

To do so, I suppose would be an admittance that Government is failing to deliver. 'We' rely on the media to venture where others fear to go, and this programme is to be commended. Many thanks.
Jack Libby, UK

This programme had me in tears... listening to those kids broke my heart
M Wilson, Isle of Wight
Very distressing stories tonight told by child actors of the horrors of children whose parents are drug addicts. These children are suffering in silence in many cases from a very young age. Witnessing drug abuse, constant 'falling out', sometimes with violence, between parents is not an atmosphere children should have to witness. They as young children are being neglected and abused. More should be being done for these children by the relevant authorities. They have to have split loyalties and the children remain silent for the sake of their parents. Although distressing, Panorama is to be praised for bringing their stories to our screens. As a result, I hope that action will now be taken to help children with parents who are suspected drug addicts.
Steve Fuller, Hove, England

This programme had me in tears. Usually you hear the stories from the addicts themselves, but listening to those kids broke my heart. I let my 13 year old daughter watch it with me, I just hope when the time comes that she's offered drugs, something in that programme will stay in her mind and make her say no thanks.
M Wilson, Isle of Wight

Good programme completely spoiled for me. If they were actors, why was it necessary for them to have such strong accents? I tried really hard to concentrate, but understood less than half what was said.
Irving Winson, Gloucester, England

Tonight's Panorama was wonderful. Harrowing, gripping, absolutely timely. We should all, as a society, be prosecuted for child abuse for allowing these children to suffer. Well done.
Alison Campbell, Edinburgh, Scotland

A worthwhile, thought-provoking programme but why were only Scottish people shown? The drugs problem is not confined to Scotland.
Isabel McGowan, England

I just watched Panorama and I can relate to that programme a lot. I think you should actually put more programmes like this on TV to let other people out there like this know they ain't the only ones, and to show the rest of the people how lucky they are in life.
Claire, south east London

Every person that took part in your programme should be given a medal. Good luck to them in the future.
M Wilby , England

This was a powerful programme but why did you choose to use Glasgow as the focus when the accent/dialect is so difficult to understand? Surely a London accent is more accessible to the majority of the population?
Carmel Hadfield, Sidcup, Kent

This was such a good programme. The actors were absolutely amazing. Nice one BBC!
Paul, UK

I would like to ask the producers of this programme one question. Why were all the people featured in the programme Scottish? There can be no doubt that the people you spoke to are victims of drug abuse but did they all live in Scotland?!

The spiel for your programme states that there are about 250,000 children in this situation. I am sure some of them live in England. Panorama should have shown a selection of children from all over the UK instead of painting Scotland as the only place in Britain where this awful problem exists!
Duncan, Scotland

A third-rate programme about a first-rate topic. Wasted opportunity to tackle a contemporary subject.
Adena, London

Congratulations on dealing with a social tragedy that in many ways goes unnoticed - the plight of children of drug addicts. Unfortunately we found that the distinct Glaswegian accent difficult to follow -- why oh why was Ceefax 888 unable to come to our rescue?
Teifion Rees, Wales

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SEE ALSO
The invisible kids
29 Apr 04 |  Panorama


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