About Addiction Awareness Week
This week, The Forward Trust released new research as part of the Taking Action on Addiction multi partner campaign, which aims to bring addiction into the light in an attempt to break down the stigma and provide stories of hope to encourage those suffering from addiction to seek help.
The research reveals that 45% of UK adults aged 18-75 have either experienced addiction or dependency to alcohol, drugs, medication, gambling or sex, themselves, or know someone close to them that has. Despite this being equivalent to 22 million UK adults aged 18-75, the stigma that surrounds the condition is stopping or making it difficult for half of those experiencing their own or other people’s addictions from speaking out, with negative judgement (46%) and shame (39%) ruled as top concerns.
This week has also seen the launch of a new film ‘Everybody Knows Somebody’ during a national Let’s Talk About Addiction event on the evening of the 2nd November. The importance of talking, and it being the first step to recovery, is highlighted in this powerful film in which people who have been impacted by addiction, either themselves or in their families, explore the stigma that still surrounds it.
Let’s Talk About Addiction event
"Let’s Talk About Addiction" Live from The Brink, Liverpool (2nd Nov, 7:00 - 8:45pm) - YouTube
The live broadcast from The Brink in Liverpool included a panel discussion with journalist Bryony Gordon and guests, with a special live performance from Dave McCabe, ending the evening with an acoustic version of Valerie.
The poll found that over half (53%) of those experiencing addiction or dependency, either directly or through someone close they know, feel unable to talk freely about it
Of those with a family member currently experiencing or who have experienced addiction, almost half (49%) of those surveyed felt it was difficult or found themselves unable to talk about the issue. By comparison, when it comes to speaking about their own addiction, 38% find it difficult or cannot talk to other people. This points to a deep-rooted sense of shame when in the throes of addiction, at a time when talking is the first important step in the road to recovery.
About half of adults suffering from addiction personally were negatively affected by it - experiencing emotional or psychological distress (51%), health issues (49%) and financial problems (46%).
The data also highlights the stark impact on individuals who are close to those suffering with an addiction. About 2 in 5 of those who know someone close to them with an addiction report a negative impact on their relationship with that individual (45%), emotional or psychological distress (40%) and even financial impact (38%) as a result of someone else's addiction.
About the research
Ipsos interviewed a representative quota sample of 2,250 adults aged 16-75 in the UK using its online i:omnibus between 3rd and 5th October 2023. Data has been weighted to the known offline population proportions for age, social grade and working status within gender as well as region.