26 Hawthorn Terrace, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 6RJ, United Kingdom

CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) is an evidence-based, non-judgmental motivational programme for carers to encourage treatment-resistant substance misusers into treatment.

No one knows more about the substance misuser’s behaviour than a concerned family member. CRAFT teaches them how to harness this knowledge and build reinforcement and positive communication skills to increase the chance of their loved one entering treatment.

Family workers can learn how to apply the principles of CRAFT by participating in a three-day course run by Positive Practice Partnership Ltd, a trading arm of PROPS North East.

Workers will be shown how to encourage carers to replace nagging, pleading and threatening behaviour with a positive, motivational approach through an adaptable programme in which they can work with individuals, families or groups.

Extensive research demonstrates that seven out of 10 concerned significant others using CRAFT get their loved ones to engage in treatment. CRAFT is also four times more effective than other interventions at getting substance misusers into treatment and three times more effective at helping them stop their abuse.

Developed and researched by Dr Robert Meyers and colleagues at the Centre on Alcoholism Substance Abuse and Addictions in the US over the past 20 years, CRAFT is becoming a key element in family and carer support services in the UK.

A review in 2005 of family interventions in the treatment of alcohol and drug problems by Copello et al highlights studies showing CRAFT’s effectiveness in engaging previously treatment-resistant substance-misusing relatives while reducing family conflict and improving health for loved ones.

Moreover, a National Treatment Agency study in 2008 shows that when someone starts their recovery, it is more likely to be effective and sustained where families, parents and carers are closely involved. CRAFT supports this process.

One recommendation of a national consultation conducted by Adfam and Drugscope on developing a new deal for families in relation to recovery and drug dependency was that “the more we look to families to support recovery, the more important it is that we also invest resources in families to help them recover too”.

The 2010 Drug Strategy endorses this approach and encourages local areas, commissioners and services to “promote a whole-family approach to the delivery of recovery services, and to support services for families and carers”.

CRAFT goes to the heart of this aspiration – and is a key element of a comprehensive recovery-orientated framework.

CRAFT will help partners or loved ones to:

Recognise and respond safely to potential aggression or violence Improve communication with the substance user Decrease stress Improve their own self-worth Engage the substance user into treatment and recovery