Drug and alcohol-related deaths: What of those left behind? Substance-related bereavement

Christine Valentine

Research output: Other contribution


According to popular wisdom death is the great leveller, affirming our common humanity whatever our status in life. But our recent study of people bereaved by a drug or alcohol-related death found it can also marginalise and stigmatise both those who have died and those left behind.
Our 2012-15 ESRC funded study [1] aimed to better understand and improve policy and practice for the families and individuals affected by a substance-related death. Interviews with 106 people bereaved by substance use found a failure of services to respond to the diversity of people’s experiences with particularly negative consequences for the bereaved [2]. To address this, the study engaged 40 practitioners via six focus groups to explore how better to support these bereaved people. A working group of 12 practitioners then developed best practice guidelines.
Original languageEnglish
TypeSubstance use bereavement policy blog
Media of outputIPR Blog page
PublisherInstitute for Policy Research, University of Bath
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2016


  • death and bereavement, drug policy, research


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