Death by drug overdose: Impact on families
Silva, Eroy Aparecida da
Noto, Ana Regina
Formigoni, Maria Lucia O. S.
Is part ofJournal Of Psychoactive Drugs
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Death by overdose is loaded with social/moral stigmas, in addition to strong feelings of anger, helplessness, guilt and shame in the families. The objective of this study was to analyze the impact of these feelings on families facing death by overdose. Qualitative methodology was used to study six families with a history of death by overdose of one of their members. The interview was open, and guided by the question '' What did you feel with the death of your family member by overdose and what was the impact of this death on your family as a whole?'' The families were grouped into two categories: families who knew about the drug use of their family member, and families who were not aware of it. The reports show that secrecy regarding drug use followed by death by overdose arouses feelings of anger, guilt, helplessness, and deprives the family members of information that could allow them to take action. As regards families that were aware of the drug use, there seems to be a '' veiled preparation '' for a possible death by overdose, bringing about ambivalent situations of grief and relief. The report stresses how disturbing it is to lose a family member by overdose, and points to the need for psychological support for those families.
CitationJournal Of Psychoactive Drugs. San Francisco: Haight-ashbury Publ, v. 39, n. 3, p. 301-306, 2007.
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