Exciting new research: Understanding and responding to those bereaved through their family members’ substance misuse.

Understanding and responding to those bereaved through their family members’ substance misuse. 

Below is an overview of an ongoing research project, funded by the ESRC and undertaken collaboratively between the University of Bath and University of Stirling.


Principal Investigator, Professor Tony Walter and his research team have been talking to adults who have been bereaved following a family member’s drug or alcohol misuse. The project has two distinct stages. Initial qualitative interviews will be used to identify ways of coping with bereavement through alcohol or drug misuse. Discussion outcomes will then be used to inform practice guidelines for practitioners who provide support services.


The research aims to provide a better understanding of the needs of bereaved family members to cope with loss which is often misunderstood and stigmatised by society.


The project was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council for 3 years (2012-2015) and has been undertaken by death studies’ academics from the University of Bath and in collaboration with addiction studies’ academics at the University of Stirling. A family member with experience of this type of bereavement has also been involved.

MORE INFORMATION can be obtained from


Licensing of Air Weapons in Scotland a Step Closer

The licensing of air weapons has today (23 March) come a step closer following the publication of the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Regeneration Committee’s stage one report on the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill.

Whilst supporting plans to license air weapons, the Committee is calling on the Scottish Government to strengthen the scheme by applying a unique identifier marker to link an air weapon to a specific owner.  This would assist the police in tackling criminal misuse of air weapons.

As well as air weapons, the Committee also considered changes to the licensing of alcohol, taxis and private hire cars, scrap metal dealers, public entertainment, and sexual entertainment venues.

During consideration of the Bill, the Committee heard evolving technology and business models such as ‘Dial-a-booze’, ‘pedi-cabs’ and taxi booking ‘apps’ are becoming more common place.  The Committee recognises evolving technology and new business models need an equally modern and adaptable licensing regime and the report calls for a wider review of licensing in Scotland.

The Bill also introduces a licensing regime for sexual entertainment venues. The Committee recommends the proposed exemption, allowing venues to hold performances no more than four times a year without a venue licence, should be scrapped to close a loophole whereby organisers could evade regulation by moving events from venue to venue. The Committee believes performers’ safety is better protected through regulating venues.

Committee Convener, Kevin Stewart MSP said:

“There is no doubt air weapons are dangerous. Recently a rail worker and a fire fighter were shot as they carried out their jobs and this kind of incident happens far too often. That is why we welcome plans to introduce a licensing regime for air weapons. It is a timely and important piece of work. Misuse of these weapons must be addressed and the Bill takes this objective a step closer.

“During our consideration, it has become clear to us that the current licensing regime, in particular the Civic Government (Scotland) Act, should be reviewed to ensure that it can meet the challenges of a modern Scotland.”

Recommendations contained within the report include:

Air Weapons

  • The Government should provide a clear and comprehensive public information campaign to enable air weapons to be licensed or lawfully disposed of.
  • Police Scotland should be given a degree of latitude in the rollout of the air weapons certificate system to address future application peaks and troughs.
  • The Scottish Government should ensure Part 1 of the Bill should not prevent sales by Scottish businesses to people who reside in all other parts of the UK.

Alcohol Licensing

  • Club licenses and occasional licenses should be included when Licensing Boards are considering overprovision statements.
  • Given the overwhelming evidence received of harm and links to disorder from overconsumption, an additional licensing objective should be added to the 2005 Act relating to the reduction of consumption.

Taxi and Private Car Hire

  • The Scottish Government should consider a full review of all aspects of taxi and private car licensing and report back to the Committee within this Parliamentary term.
  • The principal reason for licensing taxi and private hire cars is to ensure public safety, therefore any changes to the market, for example through the use of technology, should ensure licensing cannot be evaded.
  • The same knowledge test should apply to all drivers, both taxi and private hire.

Metal Dealers

  • A welcome for proposal to ban cash payment and for clarification of payment methods.
  • The Scottish Government should clarify types of customer ID for digital record keeping.
  • Options for establishing a national register of metal dealers in Scotland should be considered.
  • The level of fines should be increased to take into account the substantial impact metal theft can have.

Sexual Entertainment Venues

  • Provision to exempt four occasions from the licensing regime should be removed.
  • The sexual entertainment venue licensing regime should be mandatory.
  • All elements of sexual entertainment venue licensing (including advertising and alcohol) should be brought under the control of a single body.

The KBS Society journal has published a new issue of IJADR

The papers in this issue are listed below and can be downloaded from This issue includes authors from Australia, Columbia, Ghana, Germany, Sweden and the United States.

Vol 3, No 2 (2014)


Alcohol’s harm to others: Quantifying a little or a lot of harm

Sarah Callinan


Determinants of drink-driving and association between drink-driving and road traffic fatalities in Ghana

James Damsere-Derry, Francis Afukaar, Gavan Palk, Mark King


Alcohol’s harm to others: Using qualitative research to complement survey findings

Elizabeth Manton, Sarah MacLean, Anne-Marie Laslett, Robin Room


The association between alcohol restriction policies and vehicle-related mortality in Cali, Colombia, 1998-2008

Jorge Mena, Álvaro I. Sánchez, María Isabel Gutiérrez, Juan-Carlos Puyana, Brian Suffoleto


The effect of sample selection on the distinction between alcohol abuse and dependence

Martin Steppan, Daniela Piontek, Ludwig Kraus


Alcohol use and health care utilization in rural Liberia: Results of a community-based survey for basic public health indicators

Ana A. Weil, Corey M. Cameron, Jacob Soumerai, Kerry L. Dierberg, Alphonso Geelue Mouwon, David R. Kraemer, Daniela Lewy, Patrick T. Lee, John D. Kraemer, Mark J. Siedner

Alcohol Policy in Practice Postgraduate CPD Course

The University of Stirling are delighted to announce that the Alcohol Policy in Practice course run by the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS) is now ready to take applicants.

The course offers excellent, current and robust learning about issues in alcohol policy and practice, and a unique opportunity to network with leading academics and policy-makers in this field. The course is aimed at those involved in alcohol strategy or reducing alcohol-related harm locally or regionally. Please circulate the attached flyer to all your networks. We can facilitate early invoicing to enable use of 2013/14 funds where relevant.

You can read more about the course on our website, download the full programme or access the course flier.

If you would like to receive occasional emails about this course and other news from UKCTAS in future you can check out the details and sign up here.

Enquiries should be directed to Niamh Fitzgerald, Course Co-Ordinator at the University of Stirling.