A new study released by the Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) continues to confirm what we at Cliffside Malibu already know — addicts use drugs to cope with trauma or other unbearable situations. Help heal the trauma and the addict can recover.

“The findings of this research have important and wide-ranging implications for the approach to the prevention and treatment of problematic drug use in Scotland, which has among the highest recorded rates of people with drug problems in Europe,” said David Liddell, director of the Scottish Drugs Forum.

“We also have to look at the wider social and environmental stresses, such as unemployment, poverty and poor mental health and wellbeing, which disproportionately affect our most disadvantaged families and can lead to severe trauma and breakdown, with the consequences detailed in this research.”

In the study, researchers followed the lives of 55 former intravenous drug users. The majority of the participants were between the ages of 30-50 and came from, or ended up in, deprived areas. They found that:

  • All had had some kind of trauma during childhood. Most trauma was in the form of physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
  • One-third grew up with at least one parent who abused drugs or alcohol, many of which were related to domestic violence.
  • Most had some kind of trauma in adulthood related to drug abuse

Mr. Liddell said: “We need to recognise and take action on the wider factors underpinning substance use dependency which have blighted generations of disadvantaged families across Scotland — and so minimise what people have to recover from, while maximising what people can recover to.”

The study was the result of a partnership with Professor Richard Hamersley of the University of Hull and Dr. Phil Dalgarno of Glasgow at Caledonian University.