The Family - A Crucial Link When Dealing with Addiction

“Family is the institution to which we owe our humanity. We know no other way of making human beings except by bringing them up in a family.” – Margaret Mead. Family is the basic social group also known as the basic unit of society.

An observation in family development throughout history, from the very beginnings of civilization, when people lived in hordes, to present days, reveals that family has changed its shapes and functions depending on the general social norms and the development of society itself. However, by satisfying the basic living human needs, protecting or discarding their children, very often families face a problem that develops into an illness. Illness is absence of health, however, addiction illness implies not only illness of the individual, rather of the family.   

The most significant protection factor for minimizing the possibility of drug abuse are precisely the parents, who, unfortunately, are the last to face the addiction, first by denying, ignoring, panicking and refusing to acknowledge the problem. In terms of drug use or use of other psychotropic substances, the family’s reactions are constructive and inadequate. It is crucial that in such cases the parents recognize the problem, react promptly, and prevent and minimize the risks from further drug related harms.

On another significant note, addiction illness is treatable, but also chronic and recidivistic (repetitive). This, however, requires absolute inclusion in the process of maintaining and decreasing the drug use risk. Nowadays, thanks to contemporary centres, methadone or buprenorphine substitution therapies are a form of social help towards the long and thorny process that is addiction treatment with available drug substitutes, as are detoxification programs. Every step towards treatment is the first attempt for healing.

While on the topic of families, I would like to point that according to my statistics from 2015, the medical history of the registered people on methadone treatment (data compiled in the Kumanovo Addiction Centre) shows that 90 % of the clients are children of divorced parents, parents with an addiction (most often alcoholism), offenders, parents with children from other marriages etc.. However, in my opinion, genetics continues to be the main culprit for what we are and what we grow to be, as evidenced by scientists working on proving the phenomenon of genetic connection. Among the many I would like to mention Thomas Hunt Morgan who in 1910 revealed that genes are located on chromosomes. The focus at the moment is on self-help groups, something we still need to work on. Frequent meetings between addicts and those in abstinence can significantly improve the state of people who are dealing with a drug problem. In addition, continuous sessions with a psychologist can also be important because it might awaken his/her desire and help find the most appropriate treatment and healing method. I would like to appeal for separate self-help groups for families because only this would lead towards certain results regarding the typical family facing addiction problems. When this problem becomes evident, regardless of the type of family, state institutions have to do their best and decrease the percentage of drug abuse, and contribute to the re-socialization of these people.

Biljana Ivanovska

Тhe rest from the seventh edition of „Drugs - Policies and Practices" you can read HERE.

And the old numbers of the magzaine Drugs - Policies and Practices.