Over the years we have carried out a great deal of research with young people. Some of this has been relatively uncomplicated like anonymous school based work with school aged kids to find out their levels of drug and alcohol experimentation and more regular use.
Other research work carried out was more demanding and complex as we worked to understand how young people live and cope with the problems created where a parent or brother or sister has serious dependency problems with substances. Much as it is important to consider the problem from the point of view of the child or the parent so it is crucial too to understand something of how involved professionals respond to children and their needs. To this end we have carried out research on professional practice and decision making in this sphere.
An outcome of research with drug affected families was the will to give this problem a voice. Too often the difficulties that these children confront are invisible and hidden. One successful means of doing this came through the opportunity to work with BBC Panorama to produce a programme offering a unique insight into these children’s lives. A later project was to put on an exhibition. Working for over 2 years with young people from all over Scotland led to the creation of a powerful and moving depiction of the daily struggles many children confront in trying to grow up well where they live in families and communities where drugs and alcohol are prevalent and problematic. ‘Trying Childhoods’ was held at the Glasgow School of Art in 2007.
These young people used paint, sculpture, video and animation to describe something of what it’s like to live with these experiences. It was a powerful depiction of the many negative ways in which drug and alcohol use affected their lives. Some of the images created by young people can be seen though linking to this BBC coverage:
The exhibition was also invited to be shown at the Scottish Parliament and at San Patrignano Therapeutic Community in Italy.
Barnard, MA (2007) Drug Addiction and Families Published by Jessica Kingsley, London
Barnard MA (2005) Discomforting research: colliding moralities and looking for ‘truth’ in a study of parental drug problems. Sociology of Health and Illness 27(1):1-19. ISSN: 0141-9889 (Print) ISSN: 1467-9566 (Online)
Barnard, MA and McKeganey, NP (2004) The impact of parental problem drug use on children: what is the problem and what is being done to help? Addiction 99(5): 552-559. ISSN: 0965-2140 (Print) ISSN: 1360-0443 (Online)
Barnard MA (2003) Between a rock and a hard place: the role of relatives in protecting children from the effects of parental drug problems Child and Family Social Work , 8(4) 291-299. ISSN: 1356-7500 (Print) ISSN: 1365-2206 (Online
Barnard, MA (2002) Drugs versus Children Zero2Ninteen October issue http://www.0-19.co.uk/Articles/2002/09/19/38129/Drugsversuschildren.html
Barnard, MA, Barlow, J. (2003) Discovering Parental Drug Dependence: silence and disclosure Children and Society 17(1): pp45-56. ISSN: 0951-0605 (Print) ISSN: 1099-0860 (Online)
Barnard, MA (1999) Forbidden Questions: Drug Dependent Parents and the Welfare of their Children (editorial) Addiction 94(8): 1109-1111. ISSN: 0965-2140 (Print) ISSN: 1360-0443 (Online)
McIntosh, J., MacDonald, F. and McKeganey, N. (2006) Why do children experiment with illegal drugs? The declining role of peer pressure with increasing age. Addiction Research and Theory. 14, 3, 275-287
McIntosh, J. , MacDonald, F. and McKeganey, N.P. (2006) Pre-teenage children’s experiences with alcohol. Children & Society.
McIntosh, J. , MacAskill, S., Eadie, D., Curtice, J., McKeganey, N.P., Hastings, G., Hay, Gand Gannon, M. (2006) Evaluation and Description of Drug Projects Working with Young People and Families funded by Lloyds TSB Foundation Partnership Drugs Initiative. Scottish Executive.
McKeganey, N.P., McIntosh, J. , and MacDonald, F. (2003) Young People’s Experience of Illegal Drug Use in the Family. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy. 10, 2, 169-184.
Barnard, M.A. Forsyth A.J.M. (1998), Drug Use Among Schoolchildren In Rural Scotland Addiction Research 6(5): 421-434. ISSN 1058-6989
Barnard, M.A. Forsyth A.J.M. (1998), Alcopops And Under-Age Drinking: Changing Trends In Drink Preference Health Education 98(6): 208-212. ISSN: 0965-4283
Barnard, M., Forsyth, A., McKeganey, N. (1996), Levels of Drug Use among A Sample of Scottish Schoolchildren. Drugs: Education, Prevention And Policy. 3(1): 81-89. ISSN 0968- 7637 (Print) ISSN 1465-3370 (Online)
Barnard, M., Forsyth, AJM, (1996) The Social Context of Under-age Smoking: a qualitative study of cigarette brand preference Health Education Journal, 55(2): (Jun 96) 175-184. ISSN: 0017-8969