An amazing year for DrugFAM

Nicola James

It has been a truly fantastic year for one of our members – DrugFAM. I was so pleased to represent Helplines Partnership at their ‘Service of Celebration and Hope’ at Westminster Abbey in May. Today, we were delighted to hear that Elizabeth Burton-Phillips, the founder of the charity, has been awarded an MBE in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for ‘services to people who experience drug addiction and their families’.

Who are we?

DrugFAM’s primary purpose is to provide a lifeline to families, friends and partners affected by someone else’s substance misuse. DrugFAM believes passionately that no-one should struggle with the stigma from wider society or be left in isolation, fear and ignorance of local and national support.


Emotional support is provided through DrugFAM’s national helpline, open from 9am to 9pm, seven days a week; by email and, in person.

DrugFAM was founded in 2006 by Elizabeth Burton-Phillips in memory of her son, Nick Mills.  For seven years, Nick and his brother Simon where addicted to heroin and crack and, after many attempts at recovery, Nick took his life in 2004. This gave Simon the strength and determination to become free of drugs in Nick’s memory.

Queen’s Voluntary Award

DrugFAM has recently been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the most prestigious award available to voluntary organisations and is the equivalent of an MBE.  The award recognises excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community.

Sarah Bromfield, Chief Executive of DrugFAM remarked “This is an amazing achievement for DrugFAM. Being honoured with this prestigious accolade is particularly special because it recognises the value, dedication, commitment and contribution of our wonderful team of staff, volunteers and trustees. I am so proud, well done to all”.


'A Service of Celebration and Hope - Lives Worth Talking About' - Westminster Abbey, 9 May 2017

The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall and was attended by the Right Honourable Amber Rudd, Home Secretary and Dr Keith Humphreys, Professor of Psychiatry, Stanford University and a former White House Drugs Policy Adviser.

Guests on the day also included local families affected by someone else’s addiction, partner agencies and professionals and academics working in the field to the event. Russell Brand (actor, comedian and author) attended with his mother and father, together with Cherie Lunghi (actress) and DJ Brandon Block.

One local bereaved parent reported “I was so very proud to be able to say my daughter's name out loud in Westminster Abbey and it was so poignant to see so many people whose lives have been affected by addiction all come together to honour their children and other family members”.

Elizabeth said “Bereavement through addiction is less understood and acknowledged than other types of family loss and often carries a stigma which adds to the burden of grief and has a serious impact on psychological and physical wellbeing. We are aware from the feedback we have received that the service at Westminster Abbey has inspired further discussions about how to tackle the prejudice and stigma experienced by the family, friends and carers of those affected by addiction.

If you would like support from DrugFAM contact the helpline 0300 888 3853. To find out more information about the charity visit

Tags: , , ,