Drug Addiction and Families

Drug Addiction and Families

Drug Addiction and Families

Drug Addiction and Families

Synopsis

"Drawing on a substantial research study comprising interviews with problem drug users and their extended family, Marina Barnard examines the effects of drug use not only on drug users themselves, but also the feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety, shame and loss that are commonly experienced by their extended family. She records the effects of drug use on family dynamics and relationships, including possible social and emotional costs. Its impact on the physical and mental health of family members is also discussed. The author highlights the often overlooked role of grandparents in protecting the children of drug users and considers the perspectives of practitioners such as teachers, social workers and health professionals. The conclusions drawn point to the fact that current service provision, in treating the problem drug user in isolation, fails to address the needs of drug-affected families, and misses the opportunity to develop family-oriented support and treatment. This accessible book is invaluable reading for drug workers, social workers, health professionals and all practitioners working with families affected by drug use."

Excerpt

The most common and damaging misunderstanding about drug dependancy is that it only concerns the person using the drugs. If we could just fix the addict then everything else would be alright. It is a perception which not only places enormous pressure on the individual who is dependent on drugs but it also ignores the pain experienced by families and loved ones. One of the first lessons I learned as a recovering alcoholic was that what I considered 'my' problem was in fact a problem for a lot of other people as well. The pain and illness spreads out from the addict to encompass partners, children, siblings and friends. The family can find itself caught in a web of denial, shame, anger and sheer bewilderment as the drug user is pulled away from them by the force of addiction.

Marina Barnard has written a powerful book which addresses the crisis faced by families as they attempt to cope with the effects of drug misuse. Her great skill is to blend rigorous research with keen insights and all backed up by a profound humanity. As somebody who knows something of the pain of this territory I cannot recommend her work strongly enough. She both knows and cares – a rare combination in a field where academic studies can too often forget or under-represent the human dimension.

Fergal Keane Special Correspondent for BBC News . . .

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