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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Bereavement following a fatal overdose: The experiences of adults in England and Scotland
Author(s): Templeton, Lorna
Valentine, Christine
Ford, Allison
McKell, Jennifer
Velleman, Richard
Walter, Tony
Hay, Gordon
Bauld, Linda
Hollywood, Joan
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Keywords: Bereavement
Issue Date: 2017
Date Deposited: 12-May-2016
Citation: Templeton L, Valentine C, Ford A, McKell J, Velleman R, Walter T, Hay G, Bauld L & Hollywood J (2017) Bereavement following a fatal overdose: The experiences of adults in England and Scotland. Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy, 24 (1), pp. 58-66.
Abstract: Aims: Overdoses contribute disproportionately to drug-related deaths (DRDs) in the UK, yet little is known about the experiences and needs of those who are bereaved by such deaths, and how their experiences and needs might differ from other bereavements associated with substance use. Methods: An interview study with 32 adults in England and Scotland (part of a larger study).  Findings: Five themes describe the core experiences of this group of bereaved people: drug use, the death, official processes, stigma, and overdose awareness and prevention. Together, these findings offer new insights in to the key features of this type of bereavement; for example, living with substance use including previous overdoses, difficult circumstances surrounding the death, having to negotiate the complex procedures involved in processing the death, the stigma such deaths attract, and feelings of guilt, self-blame and an unworthiness to grieve. Conclusions: There are ways in which bereavement following an overdose differs from bereavement following other deaths associated with alcohol or drugs. Understanding the experiences and needs of this marginalised group can help improve support for them. Furthermore, this group’s experience of witnessing and/or responding to previous overdoses indicates the value in prevention programmes targeting relatives/friends.
DOI Link: 10.3109/09687637.2015.1127328
Rights: © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
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