The Family Angle: March 2018

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

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Three exciting things to report this month from Adfam.

I am really pleased to be working with colleagues on “InterAction 2018” – a substance use conference with a difference! With support from Alcohol Research UK we are crafting a stimulating, inter-disciplinary conference featuring experts in drug and alcohol policy, research, practice, history and of course the day-to-day realities of addiction and recovery. The roster of speakers includes Paul Hayes from Collective Voice (and previously the NTA), Tina Williams of Bridges, and Mike Ashton of Drug and Alcohol Findings. Tickets are only £25 + booking fee which is a bit of a bargain so do come and join us.

We ran a wonderfully stimulating – and of course sad – roundtable discussion in partnership with Clinks, Revolving Doors Agency and Cruse Bereavement Care entitled ‘complex loss and complex need’. Thanks to Lankelly Chase for hosting. Building on the work of our BEAD bereavement project we want to better understand how multiple and complex loss – and disenfranchised grief – impacts on the treatment pathways and recovery journeys of those struggling with the challenges of multiple and complex need. This is a knotty subject which will require some hard thinking so watch this space.

Lastly, we were thrilled to recently welcome Suki Thiara to our community development team. Suki has a wealth of experience in therapeutic and project work with both adults and young people and will be working alongside Syeda on our work in Newham with young people affected by parental substance use. Email Suki.


Director of Policy and Communications

Parliamentary Roundup

Alison Thewliss MP submitted a motion for leave to bring in a bill to make provision for the introduction of supervised drug consumption rooms. The bill will be debated in the House of Commons at its second reading on 27 April.

Ben Bradshaw MP asked the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid MP, about the Government’s decision to cut public health grants to local authorities which fund alcohol and drug treatment programmes. Sajid Javid responded that the Government was providing £1 billion in funding up to 2020, including for a number of projects specifically designed to help with addiction problems.

Norman Lamb MP asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care for the number of alcohol-related hospital admissions in each of the last three years by gender and age group. Steve Brine MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, released the figures, available here


Transforming the Response to Domestic Abuse – HM Government
The Home Office and the Ministry of Justice have launched a consultation on domestic abuse to inform the Government’s new Domestic Abuse Bill which seeks new laws and stronger powers to protect and support survivors. Individuals and organisations can respond, including those with lived experience and those working to support them. Open until 31 May.

Civil Society Strategy: have your say – Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
The Government is consulting on its Civil Society Strategy which will shape their work with and for civil society over the next ten years and beyond. They want to have an open conversation about what is working well and what the Government could do to strengthen civil society further. Open until 22 May.  

Merger Consultation - Alcohol Research UK/Alcohol Concern
Consultation to shape the future of major new national charity formed from the merger of Alcohol Concern and Alcohol Research UK, launching in late 2018. Open until 27 April.

UK/Australia treatment providers’ attitudes about addiction and treatment - Monash University
Short survey open to anyone who works in the drug and alcohol sector, in any role, to compare treatment providers' attitudes about addiction and treatment in the UK and Australia. Participants are invited to enter a prize draw for an Apple iPad OR Amazon Voucher.

Cannabis and Young People: a call for contributors - Volteface
An upcoming report from the drug policy think tank Volteface is investigating how effectively UK cannabis policy is safeguarding young people. The reports is aiming to find out what is happening on the ground and provide a platform for people on the frontline to voice their experiences. They would like to speak to: 
  • families who have been affected by a young (under 18) relative's use of cannabis 
  • practitioners who work with families who have been affected by a young (under 18) relative's use of cannabis
They are particularly interested in hearing about experiences that relate to: education around cannabis, public health information around cannabis, the impact cannabis can have on wellbeing, the policing of cannabis and the role of cannabis in criminal exploitation.


Family-focused practices in addictions: a scoping review protocol - BMJ
This report draws together research into family involvement in addiction treatment. Family-focused treatment helps to protect family members from harm caused by a loved one’s substance misuse. Family involvement in addiction treatment also increases treatment entry and completion, and enhances treatment outcomes. As well as revealing the range and nature of research in the area, the report identifies gaps to be filled by future research, policy and practice.
Crumbling Futures - The Children's Society
This Children’s Society report has found that many vulnerable young people require more support as they move into adulthood. Children’s services are often too short term, and disappear when a young person turns 18. It recommends that services and policy facilitate further planning and support for vulnerable young people making the transition.

Together, we can tackle child abuse campaign - Department for Education
‘Together, we can tackle child abuse’ is a government campaign led by the Department for Education. It aims to tackle the barriers that prevent people from reporting abuse, in order to get help to vulnerable children and young people more quickly. The campaign will create a national moment and will encourage people to report abuse through reassurance and education.

What do charities think about grant makers and grant applications? - NFP Synergy
NFP Synergy has provided in-depth research into the relationship between charities and grant makers. Charities have been surveyed and grant makers interviewed to increase understanding of the relationship from both perspectives. The findings provide an insight into success and satisfaction on both sides of the arrangement.

In Focus: Changing Lives

Earlier this month, Adfam’s Whole Family Recovery Project (funded by the Big Lottery) ended with a bang as family members and carers gathered in Greenwich for a celebration. The project used peer support to promote access to services for family members affected by someone else’s drug or alcohol use. Family members and carers in Greenwich became Family Recovery Champions with the aim of inspiring others to make positive changes to redress the negative impact of drug and alcohol use. 

Last week we launched Changing Lives, a report which shares what we have learned over the last five years, as well as some of the stories of the family members we worked with.

Although Recovery Champions are common in the recovery sector, this is the first project to have employed this approach with family members. Support is vital as living with someone misusing substances can have a detrimental effect on a family member’s health. Family members are more likely to be diagnosed with their own medical conditions, and suffer from isolation and stress-related physical and psychological symptoms. Recovery is accepted to be more effective when family members are closely involved, yet families need time and space to recover too.

To meet these needs we designed a project that included one to one practitioner support, information, and peer support. We hope that following this project, family members in Greenwich will be more able to develop, run and manage their own sustainable services. One family member said of the project “it was the best thing we could have done, coming here… there is a light at the end of the tunnel”. We hope that this project will prove to be a leading light in the development of addiction and family support services.

Download the Changing Lives report here.
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