The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction published a guide to help practitioners and policy makers implement effective responses
Starting last October, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) launched a series of miniguides that will form the document “Health and social responses to drug problems: a European guide” available on its website. The guide examines some of the key public health challenges in the field of drugs and provides practitioners and policy makers with practical and timely advice for designing, targeting and implementing effective responses.
Among other chapters, the guide includes: the various patterns of drug use (cannabis, medicines, new psychoactive substances – NPS, opioids, polydrug use, stimulants); drug use associated harms; the settings where social and health responses can be developed (local communities, prisons, recreational settings, schools and workplaces); and people with potential vulnerability, including families, people who are homeless, migrants, older people, and women. At present, the chapters on families and homelessness have been completed – You may subscribe to the EMCDDA mailing list to stay informed about updates and news around the guide.
Each miniguide looks at responses to these issues. In addition, two central resources frame the mini-guides, including a framework for developing responses and a set of strategies for their successful implementation.
Families of people who use drugs: health and social responses
For example, the miniguide on the families of people who use drugs provides an overview of the aspects to be considered when preparing or implementing health and social responses in this area. It also provides an analysis of the availability and effectiveness of these responses.
Children and other family members of a person who uses drugs problematically may experience various health, social, and economic harms. The miniguide focuses on both the families of adults with drug-related problems and the families of children and young people in need of help as a result of drug-related behaviours.
Family members can make an important contribution by supporting the relative who uses drugs and encouraging them to engage in treatment. However, they may also experience a range of problems related to their relative’s drug use: worries, psychological distress, tensions in family relations and financial burdens.
Children whose parents or primary carers have problematic drug use may be particularly vulnerable, but many children live with a parent who uses drugs without experiencing any harm. It is therefore important to build and support children’s resilience, while identifying and addressing their specific problems.