Drug Prevention and Drug Education

Understanding and Responding to Those Bereaved Through Their Family Members’ Substance Misuse (2012-2015)
(Funded by the ESRC)

High levels of drug and alcohol related death remain an on-going problem across the UK, yet there has been very little research done to investigate the experiences and needs of those bereaved by such deaths. This three year, ESRC funded study addresses this lack of knowledge and aims to build understanding of substance related bereavement to inform the development and provision of relevant support services.

The study, which involves collaboration with the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath, is being carried out in two stages. Phase 1 involves conducting up to 100 qualitative interviews with individuals who have lost a family member or close other to a drug or alcohol related death. Recruitment of interviewees is being conducted in two study sites: Scotland and the South West of England, with teams at Stirling and Bath responsible for respective sites. Findings from Phase 1 will be used to inform Phase 2, which will involve the development of practice guidelines for bereavement support services facilitated through a series of focus groups attended by bereaved individuals and professionals from a range of local and national, addiction and bereavement agencies, organisations and networks. The research team will produce a final version of these guidelines, which will be disseminated through relevant networks and retained for a future validation and testing stage.

New Guidelines to support people bereaved through alcohol or drugs 

ISM Staff: Linda Bauld and Jennifer McKell

Led by University of Bath 

Walter T, Ford A, Templeton L, Valentine C and Velleman R (2017). Compassion or stigma? How adults bereaved by alcohol or drugs experience services. Health & Social Care in the Community, 25(6): 1714-1721. doi:10.1111/hsc.12273

Templeton L, Ford A, McKell J, Valentine C, Walter T, Velleman R, Bauld L, Hay G and Hollywood J (2016). 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 

Valentine C, Bauld L and Walter T (2016). Bereavement following substance misuse. A disenfranchised grief. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 72(4): 283-301. Doi:10.1177/0030222815625174