Family and friends can play a crucial role in the lives of people with alcohol or drug problems. Your support can help an individual to make positive changes in their own lives.
This comes with a cost however as the chaos of addiction does not just affect the individual but also those close to them. If you are concerned about someone else’s drinking or drug use and are unsure what to do, professional support, information and advice can be essential. Independent emotional support and information can reduce isolation, help you to get more balance in your life and to think through the role you want to play.
Those caring for or affected by someone else’s drink or drug use are entitled to help in their own right, to be listened to and to be involved in their loved one’s care (as long as they agree to it). A full charter of the rights of families and friends of alcohol and drug users in Edinburgh is here:
This document has been adopted by the EADP as an expression of the rights of those affected by others’ use. Adhering to it is a key indicator of service quality.
I have the right to:
Expect my views to be valued
- I have the right to be treated equally irrespective of my ethnic background, gender, disability, age, religion or sexual orientation.
- I will be recognised as a key partner in the provision of care (in line with the NHS Carer Information Strategy).
Receive appropriate support
- I will be offered sources of support for myself as a carer, including a carer’s assessment, when I require help.
- I will receive relevant information concerning alcohol dependency and any related conditions, including possible treatments.
Inform practitioners of the ongoing situation
- I have the right to ask for a separate appointment to inform practitioners about the situation of the person I care for.
- I have the right to inform practitioners how the situation impacts on the life of family members/carers knowing I will not have the right to confidential information.
Inform the development of policy and services
- I have the right to feed back my individual experiences to service providers.
I have the right to be involved in consultation on relevant policy and strategies and through representation on appropriate bodies.
*By family and friends we mean carers in all relationship settings whether they are defined by kinship, partnership, friendship, affection or obligation.
Vocal’s Family Support (Addictions) Service offer a a wide range of support, advice and counselling specifically for adults who care for or are affected by someone else’s use of drugs or alcohol. they are a city-wide service. For more information see here.
Scottish Families Affected by Drugs runs a free and confidential national helpline for anyone who has been affected by the drugs misuse of someone they care about. The helpline currently operates from 5pm – 11pm, seven days a week. Call today on 08080 10 10 11. You can also email the helpline. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with details of what you would like help with. Your email will be confidential and your contact details will not be used for any other purpose.
For some people, it will be easiest to approach their own GP who may be able to advise them on other sources of support.