The roles and experiences of family members who care for a person with substance or opioid use disorder

Background: Substance use disorder (SUD) or opioid use disorder (OUD) not only affects the person with SUD/OUD, but the entire family. Family members (FMs) who provide care to a person with SUD/OUD attempt to live with the addiction/recovery process while navigating a fractured healthcare/treatment system. The purpose of this article is to describe multiple roles and experiences of FMs. Methods: A Qualtrics survey was developed to examine FMs’ experiences and resource utilization for a person with SUD/OUD. Survey questions included open- and closed-ended questions focused on concepts related to FM status, treatment, recovery, care of minors, information/media sources accessed, and other services needed. After IRB approval participants were recruited using a convenience sample and a survey link were emailed to geographically dispersed university colleagues and community stakeholders. Results: Authenticated surveys (n=187) and demographic questionnaires were completed. A majority of the FMs were siblings or partners. FMs reported on experiencing stigma; identifying, securing, and funding treatment; seeking education/training on Naloxone; caring for the person’s minor child(ren); and accessing self-care resources. Conclusions: This study builds on prior research describing the lived of experiences of FMs and the unique needs of this population. Additional research is needed to develop resources that are easily accessible and readily available.

Keywords: family members, substance/opioid use, system theory, treatment, resources



Work Title The roles and experiences of family members who care for a person with substance or opioid use disorder
Open Access
  1. Erin A Kitt-Lewis
  2. M Adam
  3. D E Berish
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Journal of Substance Use
Publication Date June 20, 2022
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
Deposited July 29, 2022




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  • Added Main_Manuscript_Family_members_FINAL_APPROVED_4.5.22.docx
  • Added Creator Erin A Kitt-Lewis
  • Added Creator M Adam
  • Added Creator D E Berish
  • Published
  • Updated Publisher Identifier (DOI) Show Changes
    Publisher Identifier (DOI)