The Family Angle: February 2018

Everything you need to know about families, drugs and alcohol.

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Despite the freezing conditions everyone here at Adfam, and across the wider sector, has been hard at work! Below we share a few brief updates.

Thanks to funding from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, we have been able to continue with our Older Carers peer support group. This valuable project is for anyone over the age of 55 that lives in London and is affected by a loved one's drug or alcohol use. Newcomers are very welcome, if you would like to sign up please get in touch with Alison

We welcome the publication of a new briefing on Parental Alcohol Misuse by the Government's Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). This is a very positive sign and we hope this important issue will continue to get the recognition it deserves.You can read more about the briefing in our resources section below. 

Adfam was delighted to welcome gambling support service Betknowmore UK to our monthly team meeting, to hear about their valuable work supporting problem gamblers and their families and learn more about the impact of problem gambling on families and society as a whole. Thanks to Frankie and the team for such a stimulating and enjoyable session. 

Best wishes,

Policy and Communications Assistant

Regional roundup

During February we have To find out more about Adfam's regional work please contact Becky Allon-Smith.

Parliamentary Roundup

David Stafford Memorial lecture
Adfam was delighted to attend the David Stafford Memorial Lecture which took place on the 13 February in the Houses of Parliament. It marked an opportunity to celebrate #COAWeek2018 and hear the personal testimony of speakers including Liam Byrne MP and Sunday Express journalist Camilla Tominey.
Toby Perkins MP opened a Westminster Hall debate raising awareness of the issue of child-to-parent violence (specifically focusing on adopted children). Victoria Atkins MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Home Office recognised the importance of the issue, noting how other factors often exist alongside including substance misuse and mental ill health. She noted how the forthcoming consultation on the domestic violence and abuse Bill will provide an opportunity transform agencies’ responses to domestic abuse and to promote a national conversation on this specific kind of abuse.
Jim Cunningham MP asked the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) about plans to commission research on the number of problem gamblers aged under 18 in the UK and current funding available to reducing the number of 11-16 year olds that participate in gambling activities or are problem gamblers. Tracey Crouch MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for DCMS noted the Gambling Commission run an annual survey on gambling behaviour among 11-16 year olds, whilst gambling treatment is administered by GambleAware and includes a national helpline and a network of services available to problem gamblers of any age.


Technology enhanced treatment and recovery resources – Staffordshire University
This survey is for anyone who uses online recovery resources including information, advice and forums to find out about how they are used and how it affects recovery. This includes resources for people that use drugs or alcohol or families and friends. The survey is open-ended.
Survey on attitudes towards the use of drugs – NUS & Release
This student survey is looking at attitudes towards, and use of drugs. The survey closes at 11am on Monday 12 March. Please note only people that are currently students or those who have recently been excluded are eligible to take part.


Parental Alcohol Misuse and Children – Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST)
Parental alcohol misuse (PAM) can put children at greater risk of mental and physical health problems as well as neglect and domestic abuse and other problems such as guilt, isolation, and stigma. The briefing makes a number of recommendations including for a national government strategy for affected children. It also calls for better awareness raising about the impact of alcohol misuse and outlines ways to improve the evidence base. Analysis of this briefing is available at Alcohol Policy UK

People powered recovery, Social action and complex needs: findings from call for evidence (pdf) – All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Complex Needs & Dual Diagnosis
This report was written by Turning Point, which provides secretariat to the APPG. Following the APPG’s call for evidence on how best to support people affected by dual diagnosis, the report outlines a number of good practice examples where people have drawn on their own lived experience to support others, and where services have recognised the important role people with lived experience can play in ensuring services are designed around people’s needs. The report highlights the benefits associated with social action and calls for volunteering, peer support and peer-led groups and community-led service design to be a key part of services working with people with dual diagnosis.

Why Alcohol and drug prevention, treatment and recovery: why invest? – Public Health England (PHE)
Public Health England has updated and republished its slide pack making the case for investing in drug and alcohol treatment and prevention. It reveals that drug and alcohol treatment bring combined benefits of £2.4 billion per year. The pack also includes slides setting out the prevalence of drug and alcohol harm for families, the impact of drug and alcohol misuse on families, and interventions and outcomes for families.

The Road Ahead: a review of the voluntary sector’s operating environment (pdf) – NCVO
NCVO has published its annual Road Ahead report, looking at the forces and trends that will likely shape the voluntary sector in the coming year. It identifies and discusses the political issues of Brexit, the economy and the current state of public services; the importance of attitudes and perceptions of charities; the changing media environment with new forms of media placing charities under the spotlight in different ways; government strategies impacting on the sector; and the continued role of charities in society.

In Focus: Understanding recovery from a family perspective: A survey of life in recovery for families - 

Sheffield Hallam University and Adfam

Funded by Alcohol Research UK, Adfam has worked over the past eighteen months with Sheffield Hallam University’s Department of Criminology on the “Family Life in Recovery” survey. This project has gathered the largest ever sample of families of those affected by the substance use of a family member.
The survey ran for three months, and was circulated nationally via Adfam support groups, social media, and other partner agencies. It was completed by individuals who had a family member in, or attempting, recovery from dependent drinking.  All findings, therefore, reflect the experiences of the survey respondents rather than the drinker in, or seeking, recovery.
  • There were 1,565 valid completions of the online survey.
  • Family members are both a resource to support recovery, and people whose own lives can be transformed through recovery, and who will benefit from their family member’s recovery journey.
  • Heavy and dependent drinking is associated with a range of secondary problems within families, including financial problems, mental health issues, problems at work and interpersonal violence.
  • ‘Recovery’ journeys are experienced by families as a period of positive change, but also emotional challenge, and starting on this journey does not mean full or immediate reversal of the damage done.
  • Where recovery is successful, family members can experience significant improvements to quality of life and wellbeing, including reduced domestic conflict, less use of healthcare, and improved personal finances.
  • By comparison to successful recovery, relapse can lead to poorer physical and psychological health, and poorer quality of life for family members
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