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Adfam Families, drugs and alcohol. Vivienne Evans September 2013. The numbers. Nearly 1.5 million adults will be significantly affected by a relative’s drug use

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Adfam families drugs and alcohol

AdfamFamilies, drugs and alcohol

Vivienne Evans

September 2013

The numbers
The numbers

  • Nearly 1.5 million adults will be significantly affected by a relative’s drug use

  • The cost of harms they experience as a result amounts to about 1.8 billion per year

  • The support they provide would cost the NHS and local authorities about 750 million to provide if it were not available

The numbers1
The numbers

  • 61,000 children in care in UK

  • Up to 350,000 children affected by parental drug use

  • Up to 1.3 million affected by parental alcohol use

  • In 2007, local authorities spent £117 million dealing with families where substance misuse is a problem

  • Substance misuse linked to DV, mental health, poverty ......

The policy drivers

Families affected by addiction problems are important for four significant and related reasons:

  • Involvement of family members in the treatment of their relatives with addiction problems can enhance positive outcomes

  • Family members in these circumstances show symptoms of stress that merit help in their own right

  • Effective treatment of the parent can have positive benefits for the child

  • Better outcomes for children are achieved if they remain with their families

Why support families
Why support families?

  • They provide practical, emotional and financial support to the substance user, improving the likelihood of recovery

  • Health and welfare of family members is improved if they are given support

  • Engaging families in a prison setting can reduce drug supply and re-offending

  • Isolation and stigma increases stress and its related problems, placing added strain on statutory services

  • Economic advantages

  • Why not?????

Why families
Why families?

  • Rebuilding family relationships is a key constituent of recovery

  • Families provide vital recovery capital

  • Families are well placed to help map individualised routes away from drug dependency

  • Families need to recover too

Case studies
Case studies

  • The family has been torn apart in many ways, and my grandchild has faced stigma at school

  • We’ve had to deal with drug dealers demanding money and had to pay back thousands of pounds in drug debts for our son…

  • My daughters were scared of their drug using brother….the emotional stress meant they missed school…

  • We didn’t have any routines .. Everything revolved around the drugs. There wasn’t much food about…. Bread and not much else


  • Social

  • Financial

  • Physical

  • Psychological

  • Criminality

  • Stigma

  • Personal and societal

What does family support mean
What does family support mean?

  • Policies and guidance :

    • Drugs

    • Families

    • Children

  • Systems:

    • Strategic and operational partnerships

    • Interventions and services

  • Culture and language

Six key messages of the original hidden harm inquiry
Six key messages of the original Hidden Harm inquiry

  • Estimated 250,000/350,000 children of problem drug users in the UK

  • Parental drug use causes serious harm to children at every age from conception to adulthood

  • Reducing the harm to children should become a main objective of policy and practice

  • Effective treatment of the parent can have major benefits for the child

  • By working together, services can take practical steps to protect and improve the health and well-being of affected children

  • The number of affected children is only likely to decrease when the number of problem drug users decreases

Key challenges opportunities
Key challenges/opportunities

  • How to deliver at a time of austerity

  • Outcomes

  • Localism

  • Public Health

  • Workforce

  • Recovery

  • Troubled families


Has anything changed
Has anything changed?

Www adfam org uk