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The Family Angle: November/December 2017

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

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We are excited this month to welcome Christine Toft to Adfam. This isn’t just because Christine is a highly experienced therapist and project manager with decades of experience of working with children and families affected by substance use and domestic abuse! It’s also because her appointment marks the start of something new for us: working directly ‘in the field’ in partnership with a treatment provider to strategically shape their family support offer, train and empower staff and splice our family support DNA into theirs. We are very excited to be working with Inclusion in Buckinghamshire in this innovative way. If you have any questions or live in the area and would like to say hello feel free to email Christine.

In other news
  • Wednesday saw our annual carol concert at St Brides in Fleet Street. Congratulation to the winners. This was our twentieth concert at this beautiful church.
  • We held a really exciting roundtable event looking at problem gambling and its effects on families. We hope gambling will feature substantially in our 2018 – watch this space.
  • I spoke on Julia Hartley-Brewer’s show on Talk Radio about our Alcohol and Families Alliance report on parental drinking (at 20:25).

Oliver Standing
Director of Policy and Communications

Regional roundup


This month we attended a Bar Zero event as part of Alcohol Awareness Week. Bar Zero is a new alcohol-free bar in Middlesbrough that was set up as part of a wider programme to help people in the town with drink problems by giving them a place to meet and support each other.

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

Parliamentary Roundup


  • Victoria Atkins MP has been appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office, with oversight of drug and alcohol-related policy. She replaces Sarah Newton MP who moves to the Department for Work and Pensions as Minister for Disabled People. We look forward to working with Victoria to improve life for families affected by drugs and alcohol.
  • On 13 November, Alcohol Research UK/Alcohol Concern and Adfam launched Alcohol Awareness Week (AAW) at the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Alcohol Harm, chaired by Fiona Bruce MP. The session saw powerful testimony from a mother who had previously experience alcohol addiction, Solihull Integrated Addiction Services and Professor Jim Orford.
  • Philip Hammond MP, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Autumn Budget a new tax band for still cider and perry with alcohol content between 6.9% and 7.5%. This is to target white cider, which is often drunk by people who are alcohol dependent, due to its low cost and high strength.

Consultations


Families Living with Problem Gambling Sheffield Hallam University
This survey is for anyone who considers themselves a family member, friend or loved one of a person who has engaged in problem gambling. Commissioned by Gamble Aware, this survey will gather information about the experiences of family members, with a view to informing the education, prevention and treatment of gambling related harm. The survey remains open until 28 February 2018.

Consultation on proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
This consultation seeks views on the Government’s proposals related to changes to gaming machines and social responsibility measures across the gambling industry. The consultation will close on 23 January 2018.

Resources


Overwhelming problems damaging children's well-being: Spotlight on the impact of parents' alcohol abuse on children (pdf)
Children's Society
Drawing on the Good Childhood Report 2017 (pdf), this briefing focuses on how parental alcohol consumption can adversely affect childhood. It suggests that one in eight adolescents has a parent who abuses alcohol, which can have significant adverse effects not just on childhood but adulthood too. Issues touched upon include domestic abuse; parental mental ill health; bereavement and loss; and homelessness.

Alcohol and Families Resources (pdf) – Alcohol Concern, Alcohol Research UK and Adfam

Produced as part of Alcohol Awareness Week 2017 which was delivered in partnership with Adfam and focused on families, this selection of factsheets offers information and guidance on a variety of topics including alcohol-related bereavement, setting up a support group, and what to do if you think you are drinking too much.


Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England 2016 (pdf) – NHS Digital
This report contains results from an annual survey of secondary school pupils in England in years 7 to 11 (mostly aged 11 to 15). 12,051 pupils in 177 schools completed questionnaires in the autumn term of 2016. The survey report presents information on the percentage of pupils who have ever smoked, tried alcohol or taken drugs and their attitudes towards these behaviours. It also includes breakdowns by age, gender, ethnicity and region. Questions on the use of nitrous oxide have also been asked for the first time.

Substance misuse and treatment in adults: statistics 2016 to 2017 (pdf) – Public Health England

Substance misuse treatment statistical bulletin and commentary, presenting National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) results for adults in contact with structured alcohol and drug treatment agencies in England between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017.



Eat. Pace. Plan - City of London: Christmas Campaign 2017

A campaign to encourage Londoners to stay safe this Christmas period, including 12 top tips on how best to have a good time, eat drink and be merry but also to stay safe and not ruin their night.
#EatPacePlan

 

In Focus: Alcohol Harm and support for families 


When you hear the phrase ‘alcohol harm’ what is the first thing you think of? Damage to your liver? Drink-driving? Anti-social behaviour? What about the impact on the drinker’s family? While problematic alcohol use can detrimentally affect individuals, it can also have a devastating impact on those closest to them. Families affected by alcohol often suffer in silence, feeling ashamed of their loved one’s drinking and stigmatised as a result, or they see heavy alcohol consumption as a ‘normal’ part of both society and family life, so don’t realise there’s a problem or that support is out there.

Support for families has been proven to be effective, and can take a variety of forms: from one-to-one work with professionals to peer support groups; from structured interventions to information leaflets. As is often the case, however, support varies a lot locally; excellent in some areas, but minimal in others, if it exists at all.

At Adfam, we passionately believe that families deserve support in their own right. No-one should have to suffer in silence because of the actions of those closest to them. Support for families should be well resourced, available in every area, and well promoted so families know it is there and how to access it.

We should be motivated not only by the clear moral argument for supporting fellow citizens at times of need, but also by the beneficial consequences and savings for society as a whole. Properly supported families can themselves support their loved ones through the challenges of life and hopefully into support, treatment and recovery. Every £1 invested in support for families affected by substance use gives £4.70 in value back to society. This includes through improving the health and wellbeing of both family members and drinkers.

To find a local support group and for resources for both families and practitioners, visit our map.

This article also appears in Public Health Today magazine.

Alison Hill
Policy and Communications Assistant

Copyright © 2017 Adfam, All rights reserved.


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