Drug Death Related Bereavement and Recovery (The END project)

250-300 people die every year in Norway as a result of drug use. Drug-related death (DRD), and the situation of people who use narcotics, their next of kin and the bereaved, is a major public health problem.

To fill in the knowledge gap on the topic of bereavement following a DRD, a large Norwegian study known as «The Drug-death Related Bereavement and Recovery Study» (Norwegian acronym: “The END project”) was launched in the spring of 2017 at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Department of Welfare and Participation.

The END-project's main aim is to improve the life situation for the bereaved after drug-related deaths. Scarcely research has examined bereaved by drug-related deaths' psycho-social function and what kind of help and support they receive related to their needs.

By documenting and exploring the bereaveds' situations before and after death, how health and welfare services can be optimized, generating knowledge about preventive and health-promoting factors, and suggesting tailored interventions, the END-project will contribute to developing individual adapted and effective services.

The project has an exploratory, inductive and theory-developing design and uses a mixed-method approach, i.e. survey, document analysis, focus group interviews and in-depth interviews.

The project consists of three work packages with five studies about bereaveds' grief after a drug-related death and what help and support the bereaved receive in relation to perceived needs. The results from the project will be discussed in a research circle consisting of bereaved, professionals in the municipalities, non-governmental organizations and researchers from HVL.

Assistance measures from the END-project will benefit society in helping to improve the quality of public health, reduce stigma and enhance the quality of life for the bereaved, and thereby reduce social inequalities in health. Similar groups of bereaved may also benefit from the results of the END project.

Another aim is that the research results will help motivate and direct politicians, policymakers, and public authorities to improve competence and efficiency in the health, care, and welfare services. Research knowledge from the project will be conveyed to students in health and welfare educations nationally and internationally. The study is funded until October 2023.

The initiators of the END-project were Professor Kari Dyregrov (HVL) and Dr Svanaug Fjær (Head of Department of Welfare and Participation, HVL). The project group is led by associate professors Lillian Bruland Selseng and Kristine Berg Titlestad.

Read a chronicle about bereaved and stigma, from one of the leaders of the project Kristine Berg Titlestad and initiator Kari Dyregrov: Stigma has severe consequences for bereaved after drug-related deaths, first published in Dagens Medisin, 6th of October

Contact us

bilde av Kristine Berg Titlestad

Kristine Berg Titlestad

Project leader

bilde av Lillian Bruland Selseng

Lillian Bruland Selseng

Project leader