Drug-deaths: researcher seeks sibling experiences

1 JANUARY 2003

A CSU social work researcher is hoping to shine a light on the secrecy, shame and stigma of drug-use and drug-related deaths in Australia.

A Charles Sturt University (CSU) social work researcher is hoping to shine a light on the secrecy, shame and stigma of drug-use and drug-related deaths in Australia.
 
Ms Julie Perrin, a Doctor of Social Work student at the CSU School of Humanities and Social Sciences, will examine the experience of men and women who have had a sibling die for a drug related reason.
 
Ms Perrin seeks contact with people over 18 years of age who have had a brother or sister die due to drug use more than 5 years ago.
 
“Drug use and drug-related deaths are significant health issues in our society and are surrounded by secrecy, shame and stigma,” Ms Perrin said.
 
“Not much is known about the experience for families, and especially the siblings, of the deceased.
 
“It is a difficult topic to do research about, but I think it is a very worthwhile one and I hope my research will inform social work practices in bereavement, drug and alcohol, and working with families.
 
“Parents’ voices to some extent have been heard, often speaking out in anguish. But where are the voices of the siblings? Siblings’ voices are remarkably absent from the formal scientific literature.
 
“One of the aims of my research is to give voice to sibling bereavement when a brother’s or sister’s death is drug-related.
 
“I want to clearly hear the voices of bereaved siblings, their experiences of living with a brother or sister who engages in drug use, and their experiences of having a brother or sister die as a consequence of that drug use, and how their experience changes over time.”
 
In this study, a ‘drug related death’ means a death that occurs through the use of illicit and/or licit drugs, and/or combinations of drugs. The term ‘drugs’ in this research project, incorporates psychoactive substances that depress, stimulate or cause hallucinations, including alcohol.
 
The research project has CSU ethics approval to ensure participant confidentiality and privacy. Ms Perrin will conduct confidential semi-structured open-ended interviews of between one to two hours duration with 20 to 30 participants.
 
Contact Ms Perrin by text or phone on 0402 262 168, or email Julie@karunacentre.com.au to find out more about participating in this research.

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