Family CareGiverS

Caring for your relative or friend

If you’re in a family that is caring for someone who uses substances and whose health is poor, this website is for you.

  • Many families include at least one person who uses alcohol and other drugs and may experience problems relating to their use.
  • Many people who use substances change their use for the better, or stop altogether. But some do not and may develop serious health conditions.
  • This affects not only the person who is drinking or using other drugs: it can cause huge stress for the rest of the family.
  • Many families try to cope with this on their own – perhaps because they don’t know where to get help, feel ashamed, or have tried to get help before but had poor experiences.

We want you to know that:

  • You are not alone and there is no shame in caring for someone who uses substances.
  • Everyone deserves good healthcare without being stigmatised or disrespected.
  • If you are concerned about your friend’s or relative’s substance use, you can get advice from a drug/alcohol service – even if your friend or relative says there is nothing to worry about.
  • Getting help for yourself is important and is also likely to help your relative’s wellbeing.
  • If you don’t get the right help in your first attempt, please keep trying other options.
  • We have developed a directory of family services that you might find helpful.


What families need to know (with Alcohol Change UK & Adfam)

Insights into what life is like for families caring for a member with a substance problem whose health is deteriorating.

If you wish to read it in Welsh, click here.

Family caregiver pocket guide

A guide to help you think about how best to support your relative/friend and also help you access support for yourself.

Case studies

Real-life examples of families and friends supporting someone who uses (or previously used) substances and is becoming increasingly unwell.

Videos & podcasts

These podcasts acknowledge the challenges of caring and also provide some insights into what others in that situation have learnt.

Get in touch