Living with a drug user: a booklet for the parents of drug users

Living with a drug user: a booklet for the parents of drug usersThe ‘Living with a drug user’ is a comprehensive booklet from Adfam aimed at supporting parents/carers living with a child who is using drugs.

It covers topics including: reasons for your child’s drug use; recognizing signs of use; talking with your child about drugs; setting boundaries at home; ways to reduce risks; coping with issues like theft and violence; understanding treatment options; supporting your child through withdrawal and recovery; handling emergencies; and self-care as a parent.

The booklet stresses the importance of open communication between parents/carers and their child, having realistic expectations, and maintaining boundaries. It aims to increase parents/carers’s understanding of drug use, provide strategies to help their child, and empower them as a parent/carer to care for themselves and access support during this challenging situation.


  1. Using drugs
    Addresses key issues like why people take drugs, different levels of drug use and how to spot signs of drug use.
  2. Talking drugs
    Gets to grips with the difficulties of open and honest conversations about drugs, and includes testimonies from real-life families.
  3. Living with a drug user 
    Talks about the day-to-day difficulties of living with someone using drugs and discusses issues like boundary-setting, theft and debt, how to look after yourself and how to reduce risks in the home.
  4. Understanding treatment
    The complexities of the treatment system can be overwhelming for families. This chapter looks at different types of drug treatment and what they offer, along with issues surrounding aftercare and relapse.
  5. How to help your child
    This chapter deals with how to support your child through any changes they choose to make in their behaviour, including advice on detoxing, reasons that might be behind drug use and key points to remember.
  6. Useful organisations
    A list of other agencies you may find it useful to contact with concerns in specific areas.


Click here to view/download the tool