The Family Angle: June 2017

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

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Regional Roundup

Parliamentary Roundup



In Focus


I am proud to report on a few new updates from Adfam.
Last month we published our Impact report for 2016 (pdf) – you may well have already seen it. The report pulls together the work we’ve been doing along three familiar lines – direct work supporting families; bringing practitioners together to share good practice and build capacity; and strategic policy, influence and media work with a mixture of partners. Our projects and areas of focus may wax and wane but these remain the three pillars of our work and enable us to pursue our mission of improving life for the many families around the country affected by substance use.
Drug and Alcohol Findings is well known in the drug and alcohol sector for tirelessly reviewing the evidence on substance use interventions and approaches and digesting it for frontline practitioners and those designing services. Of particular interest to us is their section on working with families.  We are pleased to become officially affiliated with Findings this month and look forward to working together. If this is an area of interest you are encouraged to join the Findings mailing list.
Vivienne Evans, our CE, has been this week in Prague in her capacity as a board member of ISSUP – the International Society of Substance Use Professionals, and in Geneva at the WHO Forum on Alcohol, Drugs & Addictive Behaviours. We are really pleased that Viv is now able to fly the flag for families not just in the UK but internationally too!
Lastly, we are running a joint event under our BEAD project banner with Bereavement through Addiction and Bristol Drugs Project focused on drug and alcohol related bereavement. It is for people who have been bereaved in this way but also the practitioners who support them, and takes place in Bristol on July 24. Read more about it.
With best wishes
Oliver Standing
Director of policy and communications

Regional Roundup

This month we have:
  • Trained peer supporters in South Tyneside in group facilitation skills
  • Trained family members in Birmingham affected by child to parent abuse to offer befriending support to others
  • Held our latest North East quarterly forum in Sunderland with a presentation from PHE
To find out more about our regional work, contact Becky Allon-Smith.

Parliamentary Roundup

Following the general election on June 8, we provide an overview of the relevant cabinet and ministerial appointments made by the government. 
  • Sarah Newton MP has been reappointed Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism at the Home Office. This position includes oversight of drug and alcohol-related policy.
  • Steve Brine MP has been appointed Minister for Public Health and Primary Care and Jackie Doyle-Price MP Minister for Care and Mental Health at the Department of Health, replacing Nicola Blackwood and David Mowat respectively. 
  • Tracey Crouch MP has been appointed to the new position of Minister for Sport and Civil Society at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, replacing Rob Wilson who was Minister for Civil Society.
  • David Lidington MP is the new Secretary of State for Justice, replacing Liz Truss MP who is now Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
We welcome all the above appointments and look forward to working with them to improve life for families affected by problematic drug or alcohol use. 


Families Living with Addiction and Recovery - Adfam & Sheffield Hallam University
In partnership with Sheffield Hallam University and funded by Alcohol Research UK, Adfam has launched the Families Living with Addiction and Recovery survey. This is the first nationwide survey which will document the lives of family members of people in addiction and recovery from alcohol and other drugs. The survey is open until the end of July.

Breaking Point: Addressing the crisis in alcohol services - Alcohol Research UK & Alcohol Concern
The newly-merged Alcohol Research UK and Alcohol Concern are seeking practitioner experiences of the treatment landscape today. This survey will play a critical role in helping them to understand the needs of treatment services and develop evidence-based recommendations.

Drug and alcohol education survey - Mentor-Adepis
Mentor-Adepis are updating their Quality standards for effective alcohol and drug education from 2013, and would like to hear from teachers to tell them what your drug education looks like currently and what you need for the future.


NPC – Charities taking charge: transforming to face a changing world

As part of NPC’s State of the Sector programme, which aims to inject new thinking and ideas on how charities can adapt to the changing environment, up to 400 charity leaders have been interviewed to gauge where charities are, hold a mirror to the sector, and find examples of the charities leading the way.

Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) and the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) – Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere? 

IAS and FARE have published a report calling for tighter restrictions on alcohol availability to help address alcohol-related harms, including pressures on emergency services. The report reviews fourteen alcohol licensing policies in Australia and the UK, rating them for their effectiveness in mitigating harm. Alcohol Policy UK has written a useful article summarising the report.

i-HOP: Assisting professionals to support children of substance misuse-related offenders

Barnardo’s has been commissioned by the Department for Education to deliver an online information hub ( Check this link for any professional that comes into contact with offenders’ children and their families, including through education, health and social care and the criminal justice system.

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) – European Drug Report 2017 & United Kingdom Country Drug Report 2017 

EMCDDA has released the European Drug report for 2017 and associated country reports. This annual report outlines the latest trends and developments in drug use and harm, supply, prevention, treatment and policy across Europe. The UK report contained Europe’s highest rate of high risk opioid use and cocaine prevalence among young adults (15-34 years). Russell Webster provides a useful analysis of the UK report.

In Focus - Making it Happen

In recent years a growing evidence base has developed around the range of harms experienced by families affected by a loved one’s substance use, and the benefits, value and cost-savings in providing support. Reports such as Hidden Harm, Labour's ‘Think Family’ agenda and The Munro Review (2011) have put the needs of children affected by addiction firmly on the map (though much remains to be done to resource this and ensure timely and effective support for those who need it). However, there has remained a lack of recognition of adult family member’s support needs, and a lack of guidance in this area, a gap highlighted by the UK Drug Policy Commission in 2012.

Adfam has always advocated for support for family members in their own right, as well as for appropriate involvement in a loved one’s care, to help reduce the stress resulting from both the substance use itself and the at times rocky recovery journey, and to improve outcomes for all. This is why we have developed Making It Happen, a practical guide for commissioning teams, service managers and frontline professionals to use in developing effective support for adult family members, whatever their context.  Increasingly, family support is becoming integrated with treatment services. This provides an opportunity but also a risk as family and carer outcomes rarely enjoy the same level of focus and reporting as core treatment criteria. Family needs and support can be sidelined, making them, quite literally, the poor relation.

In this time of localism and shrinking resources we feel it's vital commissioning teams and those responsible for service design address the needs of this under-recognised group. Making It Happen is a clear, practical best-practice guide to designing and implementing services for adult family members which address their, often, significant needs and contribute to better outcomes for all.

If you would like further information on Adfam’s packages to support review and implementation of family support provision in your local area, please email us

Download Making it Happen here (pdf).

With best wishes

Becky Allon-Smith
Regional Development Manager
Copyright © 2017 Adfam, All rights reserved.

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