Family lifesavers

Project to help relatives of drug users.

A new project which helps the families of people at risk of dying through drugs will start work in early January.

Families as Lifesavers, which is being funded through the Drugs Deaths Taskforce, helps family members to increase their understanding of drug addiction, while building coping strategies and helping them to continue to support their relative.

The project, run by Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs, is one of a number of schemes funded through the taskforce.

Minister for Drugs Policy Angela Constance said:

“Finding out that a loved-one is using drugs, and might even be at risk of losing their lives to their addiction, is one of the toughest things any family can face. People want to know the best way to respond, and what they might be able to do to help. They also want to feel they are not alone.

“As Minister for Drugs Policy I recognise that we not only have to help people who are facing problems with drugs, we also need to help their family members. Help and support is available from a number of sources, including dedicated charities like Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs.

“By funding Families as Lifesavers, and projects like it, we can help ensure that people who are in this terrible position are properly supported.” 

Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs CEO Justina Murray said:

“Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs warmly welcomes this two-year investment from the Drug Deaths Task Force for our Families as Lifesavers initiative. This recognises the critical role that families have, day in and day out, in supporting those at high risk of drug-related death.

“We know that families do so much behind the scenes, largely unsupported and unrecognised, to help keep their loved ones safe and to try to keep them alive. Our Families As Lifesavers initiative enables us to provide enhanced and intensive wraparound support to family members who believe their loved ones are at high risk of drug-related death. This includes learning more about harm reduction, addiction and recovery; increasing their confidence, skills and connections; and focusing on advocacy and self-care.”


Families as Lifesavers received £90,691 through the Drugs Deaths Taskforce when its forward plan was announced in November. It is one of the funded projects through the Taskforce’s Innovation and National Development Fund.

This fund is open only to applications which have been sponsored or supported by members of the Drug Death Taskforce and its sub-groups and which would allow for testing of innovative or immediate national responses to reduce drug related deaths.

There have been three rounds of this fund to date, with decisions being made on numerous projects being funded in each round. Details on the funded projects have been published to the Taskforce website, and can be found at: List of projects funded to date | Drug Deaths Taskforce


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