Many drug services offer family support services. These are primarily aimed at families, carers, partners, friends or others who are concerned about the drug or alcohol use of a person in their life. They can provide a safe place to talk and get help. Family support services recognize that family members are often providing practical, financial and / or emotional support for drug using family members and that they play an important part in the recovery process. Family support services will work with family members to practice self-care and empower them to become an agent of change within the family. Support can often be offered whether a relative is in treatment or not.
Many general health and social care professionals are trained to support family members with the experiences they face on a daily basis. They do so by helping family members to explore their circumstances and concerns, provide relevant information, discuss ways of responding and identify social supports. This type of support is provided in a non-judgemental and problem-solving way.
Family support services are also available in the community, e.g., through HSE Primary Care, Child and Family Services, the Department of Social Protection, housing services etc. They can also be provided by community and voluntary services. Some offer specific family support and education programmes which can reduce risks to children, problem behaviours and alcohol and drug abuse in children.
In family support groups, those who are struggling to cope with the consequences of a family member’s drug or alcohol use can come together to share coping strategies. They can provide support and information to other members.