Strategies for Working with the Families of Substance Users

When drug or alcohol use is occurring with a family, its impact on family members can be almost as great as it is for the person using the substances. During this time there can be considerable fear, crisis, confusion and shame. Often family members focus only on the substance user, are reluctant to seek help for themselves and their own lives can become enormously disrupted. Many people in this situation do not or can not access drug and alcohol services, but are more comfortable asking for and receiving support from generalist support or family workers. This two-day workshop is designed to help generalist workers understand drug use and to support people who care for or have someone in their family who uses substances.

Learning objectives

Participants can expect to cover the following topic areas:

  • The nature and consequences of substance use to family members
  • The different responses family members may have to drug use within their family
  • The process substance users go through in getting ready to change
  • Issues regarding adolescent development, roles of responsibility within the family and the need to improve communication
  • The ways that family members can look after themselves
  • The aims of the different types of treatment for drug and alcohol dependence and support family members during treatment provision
  • The referral pathways and other resources to use to support family members