Drink and Drugs News DDN November 2019 (1) - Page 12
The families of people who use substances are unforgivably
overlooked when it comes to policy and service provision.
With an election looming, Robert Stebbings gives Adfam’s
own five-point manifesto
they are given opportunities to
recover and thrive.
These children can experience
neglect and physical and emotional
abuse, which often leads to more
serious mental health problems
and other negative outcomes in the
future. More funding will enable
children’s social care services to
better identify these children and
give them the support they need.
e know from our
latest research with
YouGov that almost
one in three adults
in the UK have been negatively
affected by the substance use
of someone they know. That’s a
staggering figure, especially when
we consider the huge range of
harms we know can result – mental
health problems, violence/abuse,
relationship difficulties, financial
strain, isolation and stigma.
That’s why Adfam is launching
our new manifesto, setting out
five key points we’d like to see the
government address to diminish
these harms and provide families
with the opportunity to thrive.
We know they’re ambitious, and
rightly so. These families are sorely
neglected in policy and provision
– a significant proportion of the
population who are hidden in plain
sight and often suffer in silence.
1. Funding must be made
available for every local authority to
provide dedicated support services
for those affected by a loved one’s
12 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • NOVEMBER 2019
Current provision is very patchy.
Effective support in every local area
will enable families to improve their
health and wellbeing, stay in work,
participate in society and build and
maintain positive relationships.
2. Family members who assume
roles as kinship carers should be
supported financially to ensure they
are able to fulfil their responsibilities
without fear of entering poverty.
Research by Grandparents
Plus has found that 50 per cent of
children living in kinship care do so
due to parental substance misuse.
Kinship carers must be given the
same rights and benefits as foster
carers to provide the financial
support they desperately need
and to safeguard the emotional
wellbeing of them and the children
in their care.
3. Money should be ring-fenced
for children’s social care services
to identify and provide ongoing
support for children affected by
parental substance misuse to ensure
4. Central government money
should be made available to start
a national conversation to improve
public understanding on the impact
of substance misuse on others and
tackle stigmatising attitudes.
Our research shows that 2m
adults in the UK have experienced
stigma or judgment as a result of a
loved one’s substance use and this
can be a barrier to them speaking
out or seeking support. A national
conversation is needed to change
the public’s understanding and
recognition of this issue.
5. Government should launch a
public enquiry into how substance
misuse contributes towards mental
ill health and poverty in families.
Around 5.7m adults in the
UK have experienced mental
health problems such as anxiety
or depression and 2.8m have
experienced financial impacts such
as debt as a result of someone else’s
substance use. The government
needs to take action to understand
how substance use contributes to a
wide range of harms to families.
Over the coming months
we’ll be taking our manifesto
to parliamentarians, seeking
their support in turning these
recommendations into practice.
We know from
our latest research
with YouGov that
almost one in
three adults in
the UK have been
by the substance
use of someone
they know. That’s a
Download the manifesto at adfam.
org.uk or pick up a copy at Adfam’s
conference in December: bit.ly/
Robert Stebbings is policy and
communications officer at Adfam