The impact of drug and related deaths on families
National Family Support Agency
The Health Research Board in Ireland reported that in 2015 there were almost two drug related deaths per day (HRB, 2017) and the European Drug Report (2017) places Ireland as the 4th highest mortality rate for Drug Related Deaths, well above the EU average. While there is some literature surrounding the impact of living with problematic substance misuse little is known about the experiences of ‘the bereaved’. The current study was a collaboration between the National Family Support Network and Applied Psychology. Family members in this study reported disenfranchised grief, where their loved ones’ death is not acknowledged or is devalued. The loss of a child is hugely traumatic for parents irrespective of how that death may have occurred; “I would drive out to the grave, it was like I was making his bed, I would pat the whole thing down and fix it and everything”. The whole family system is impacted and a continuing cycle of trauma is possible when the needs of the grieving go unmet. The children of those left behind are a particularly vulnerable group who require specialised community based bereavement support by organisations who understand the impact of substance misuse within the family.
Bereavement , Addiction , Trauma
Lambert, S. (2018) The Impact of Drug and Related Deaths on Families, Dublin: NFSN, National Family Support Agency.
© 2018 The Author; NFSN