The parents' experience: coping with drug use in the family

Rachel Butler, Linda Bauld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The families of drug users are often overlooked in the planning and delivery of services. This paper is based on interviews with parents of heroin users and staff from a support agency that worked with families affected by drug use. Findings highlight the devastation parents experienced in learning that their child was using heroin, and the subsequent impact that this had on their lives. Accessing support from a specialist agency provided tangible benefits for parents. These included a reduced sense of isolation, an increased knowledge of drugs and drug-related issues, and greater empathy for their son or daughter. This resulted in an improved support network for the drug user. However, parents faced many obstacles in accessing support, not least a lack of awareness of their needs amongst appropriate agencies. The paper concludes by highlighting the need to develop further tailored interventions to support families affected by drug use, and to improve the knowledge and awareness of the issue among treatment agencies and a range of other relevant organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
JournalDrugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2009


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