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Bereavements related to drugs and alcohol share many similar features, and families often report experiencing common feelings and thoughts. However, drugs are illegal whereas alcohol is not, and this can bring about unique issues and added stigma. Find information specific to drug related deaths, including real-life stories from people with lived experience.


Adfam is the national charity working to improve life for families affected by drugs and alcohol. Our vision We want anyone affected by someone else’s drug or alcohol use to have the chance to benefit from healthy relationships, be part of a loving and supportive family and enjoy mental and physical wellbeing.

More devastating than I could ever have imagined

Our son, Matthew, died in April 2001 from a heroin overdose. He was thirty years old.  He was the middle one of three boys and he had begun experimenting with drugs and alcohol probably in his early teens. His behaviour changed drastically then, but it can be hard to know the difference between "normal" teenage behaviour and drug use. And he was the last child one would imagine to try drugs – he loved sport, had lots of friends, detested people smoking and knew about the dangers.