This article will outline the main strands of the UK-based Alcohol, Drugs and the Family (ADF) research programme. This programme has examined the impact of substance misuse problems on children, spouses, and families, both in the UK and elsewhere, especially in urban Mexico City and in Australia amongst both urban and rural Aborigine populations. This article will outline the main theoretical perspective that we have developed from this work (the stress-strain-coping-support model). It will outline some of the key findings of this programme, and address some of the key universals that we have observed across various cultures. It will end by describing current research, including the testing of brief interventions being delivered through primary care to family members to enable them to cope better with the problems which family substance misuse causes. Copyright (C) 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel.