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A lifesaving treatment for your family members

Opioid overdose deaths have reached an all-time high during the COVID-19 pandemic. Supporters and family members of individuals at risk of overdose can play a lifesaving role in the instance of overdose with the use of Naloxone.

Family Self-Care and Wellness: A Resource to Help Improve Quality of Life

Family members of individuals with substance use disorders often see disruptions in family life and experience effects of significant distress related to the family member’s illness.1 This psychological, physical, financial, and social distress can negatively impact the overall quality of life of the family member and can also increase the risk of relapse for the individual with SUDs.2 Those family members who can more effectively cope with these stressors not only avoid consequences to their own wellbeing: being able to support a family member with SUD reduces the risk of SUD relapse, hospitalizations, healthcare costs, and family stress.3,4

Through positive self-care, the daily activities that support physical, social, spiritual, financial, intellectual, environmental, emotional, and occupational wellness,5 family member caregivers of individuals with SUD can work to improve their overall quality of life. 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has developed a step-by-step guide to wellness that discusses self-care strategies for each of these dimensions. Family members of individuals with SUD may find it helpful in identifying ways to increase their self-care that can support an improvement in their wellbeing.

Check out the guide, Creating A Healthier Life!

Creating a Healthier Life cover image


1 Birkeland, B., Foster, K., Selbekk, A. S., Høie, M. M., Ruud, T., & Weimand, B. (2018). The quality of life when a partner has substance use problems: a scoping review. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 16(1), 219.

2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2020). Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 39: Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Family Therapy.

3 Clark, R. E. (2001). Family support and substance use outcomes for persons with mental illness and substance use disorders. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 27(1), 93-101.

4 Kelly, S. M., O’Grady, K. E., Schwartz, R. P., Peterson, J. A., Wilson, M. E., & Brown, B. S. (2010). The relationship of social support to treatment entry and engagement: The Community Assessment Inventory. Substance Abuse, 31(1), 43-52.

5 Swarbrick, M. (2006). A wellness approach. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 29(4), 311-314.

Substance Use is on the Rise Due to COVID-19 – Resources to Support Families

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, substance use increased in striking ways. According to a CDC report from June 2020, 13% of Americans either started or increased their use of substances as a result of COVID-19 related stress. Also according to the CDC, the United States saw its highest number of drug overdose deaths ever in a 12-month period. Further, the CDC report shows that higher rates of substance use than the general population were found for Black and Hispanic individuals, people who are employed, and unpaid caregivers.

Increased use of substances is not the only cause for urgency. The CDC has included substance use disorder on the list of at-risk health conditions that increase a person’s risk for severe COVID-19 illness.

If you are concerned that a family member or friend is using substances, either at a greater frequency or to deal with stress, there are many online resources that may help. The National Institute of Health published a step-by-step guide to recognize a substance use disorder that will help identify signs that substance use is becoming a problem. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has published family support resources, and resources focused on starting the conversation about substance use.

Family and Social Aspects of Substance Use Disorders and Treatment

Abstract: Substance use disorders (SUDs) are associated with numerous medical, psychiatric, psychological, spiritual, economic, social, family, and legal problems. These problems create a significant burden for the affected individuals, their families, and society. This paper focuses on the effects of SUDs on family and on social problems and emphasizes the need for clients in treatment to address these domains in their ongoing recovery. This paper also reviews individual, group, and family interventions that address these issues for clients with SUDs and their families.

Dennis C. Daley, Family and social aspects of substance use disorders and treatment, Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, Volume 21, Issue 4, Supplement, 2013, Pages S73-S76, ISSN 1021-9498

Keywords: Addiction; Family; Recovery; Social; Treatment