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A ground-breaking national survey looking at what addiction and recovery from addiction means for families of people with drug and alcohol problems has been launched.

Families Living in Addiction and Recovery (Family Life in Recovery) - the first of its kind in the UK - is a joint study from Sheffield Hallam University's Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice and Adfam, the national charity working to improve life for families affected by drug and alcohol use, and is funded by Alcohol Research UK.

The survey has now been officially launched and will help produce, for the very first time in the UK, an evidence-based resource for recommending which support services are urgently needed for family members of people at each different stage of recovery from addiction. Crucially, the survey will also provide insights in to the actual experiences of family members during and after active addiction.

The survey is open to anyone who considers themselves a family member, friend or loved one of a person who uses or is in recovery from alcohol and other drugs addiction. The results are expected to be published later this year.

The lead for the project is Professor David Best, head of criminology at Sheffield Hallam University and a prominent figure in the international research and policy movement around recovery.

Professor Best said: "Much is known about the economic and social costs of addiction and problematic drug use, but we know very little about what happens to family members of those using or in recovery, and how they manage their own wellbeing through this incredibly stressful and challenging process. The purpose of this study is to gather information about the experiences of family members, and to help, support and encourage others faced with the same challenges.

"The survey will explore what people can do to look after themselves and to support the person in recovery, which is particularly pertinent at a time of personalised budgets and reductions in specialist care and support.

"The results of the survey will help identify which services are urgently needed for families of people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, whilst also giving a voice to a disempowered population." 


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Vivienne Evans OBE, Chief Executive of Adfam, said: "We have been working with families affected by substance misuse for over 30 years and we know that the journey of recovery has a large impact on the lives of family members. 

"As the national charity for children and families affected by substance misuse, we are looking forward to the findings from this research to see how we can better support and advocate on behalf of families dealing with issues surrounding addiction and recovery.”

The team from Sheffield Hallam University published the first national UK survey of addiction recovery experiences in 2015, with the findings of the survey showing clear improvements in wellbeing across five domains from active addiction to recovery - health, employment, offending, risk and substance use, and families and social relationships - and now we are looking to build on our knowledge by increasing our awareness of the experience of family members.

Click here to access the Families Living with Addiction and Recovery survey.

For press information: Please contact Martin Webb in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2621 or email