Understanding and responding to those bereaved through their family members' substance misuse
This research sought to understand the experiences of people bereaved through substance misuse and work with services to develop better responses.
- We conducted 100 interviews with 106 adults (including six couples) bereaved after the drug or alcohol-related death of a family member or other close person, 66 in England and 34 in Scotland
- We held focus group discussions with 40 practitioners (some also bereaved) from a wide range of services
- We set up a working group of practitioners (some also bereaved) tasked to develop guidelines for service delivery
- Subject to further funding, we will work with organisations to validate and test these guidelines
People bereaved by substance use have been neglected by research, policy and practice and are therefore at risk. This research has aimed to understand their experiences and work with services to develop better responses; whether by the police, coroner’s courts, funeral services or bereavement and substance use agencies.
Researchers from the Centre for Death & Society at the University of Bath have collaborated with addiction studies researchers at the University of Stirling, together with a family member advisor who has experienced this type of bereavement and provided support to others.
- Professor Tony Walter
- Dr Christine Valentine
- Lorna Templeton
- Professor Linda Bauld
- Jennifer McKell
- Dr Allison Ford
- Dr Gordon Hay
- Professor Richard Velleman
- Joan Hollywood
(2017) L Templeton, C Valentine, J McKell, A Ford, R Velleman, T Walter, G Hay, L Bauld, J Hollywood. ‘Bereavement Following a Fatal Overdose: the experiences of adults in England and Wales’, Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy 24(1), 58-66.
(2017) Walter, T., Ford, A., Templeton, L., Valentine, C., Velleman, R. 'Compassion or Stigma? How adults bereaved by alcohol or drugs experience services', Health & Social Care in the Community 25(6), 1714-1721.
(2016) L Templeton, A Ford, J McKell, C Valentine, T Walter, R Velleman, L Bauld, G Hay, J Hollywood. ‘Bereavement through substance use: findings from an interview study with adults in England and Scotland’, Addiction Research & Theory, 24(5): 341-354. DOI: 10.3109/16066359.2016.1153632.
We would like to thank all those who contributed to the research as part of the Advisory Group, the six Focus Groups, the Working Group and the Guidelines’ Reviewers.
Special thanks go to the 106 bereaved people who so generously shared their experiences with us for the benefit of the research and its main output, the practice guidelines.