About QAAD

QAAD seeks to address the harm related to the use and misuse of legal, illegal and prescribed substances and gambling within a framework of Quaker values. We explore the spiritual dimensions of these issues within the Quaker testimony of abstinence and moderation, with a view to strengthening resilience to potential or established problems. We offer support to individuals and Quaker meetings, to raise awareness and improve understanding.

We endeavour to include all the perspectives of contemporary Quakers and do not promote any particular treatment method for problem use and recovery, taking instead an inclusive approach to the range of interventions available. We welcome the warm relationships we have with Quakers and Attenders who are members of the 12-Step Fellowships, as well as those who have found other paths.

QAAD is a Quaker Recognised Body (QRB) and a registered charity and became a company limited by guarantee in 1996. It is managed by a committee of trustees who are appointed and conduct their business in accordance with Quaker Practice as observed by the Religious Society of Friends.

Our beliefs

We believe that all those who suffer from the effects of harmful use or dependence on substances and/or gambling deserve compassion and understanding. As Quakers, we believe that it is extremely important to demonstrate our willingness to listen and show kindness, withholding judgement and preconceptions. We know that these problems will be present in many Meetings, but all too often they remain hidden. Stigma and shame prevent people who need help from talking about what is happening in their lives. Our hope is that through our own work, and that of others working in this field, some light can begin to pierce the darkness.

The charity was formed in 1870 as the Friends Temperance Union and expressed the Quaker witness for total abstinence. Moral Welfare was added to the title in the 1960s, when Quakers provided help for families who were trying to recover from harmful use or dependence on alcohol. In the 1990s, the title Quaker Action on Alcohol and Drugs was adopted. 

QAAD now seeks to reflect the wide range of perspectives and interventions related to substance use and gambling-related harm, and continues to offer support to individual Friends, close others who are affected by these problems, and Quaker Meetings.

1. Supporting Friends

Personal Support

Our Director provides confidential support to adult Friends over the phone, by email and by post. These include individuals, their family members and friends who are adversely affected. QAAD is not a counselling organisation, but we do offer Friends the opportunity to talk in complete confidence about problems which can be difficult to discuss with those they know, including Friends within their Meetings. We can advise on local and national sources of information and support, and put Friends in touch with others who have experienced similar problems.

Support for Meetings

QAAD attends Local and Area Meetings by invitation to give information, develop understanding, and answer questions. This can also be an opportunity for Friends to discuss how the Meeting can respond confidently and supportively to Friends who are struggling with the impact of substance and gambling related harm.


Another source of support is providing opportunities for Friends to meet and share their experiences, and to learn from each other in fellowship. Our biennial national conference, and occasional QAADNET meetings held in different parts of the country, are highly valued by those who attend. In 2020, we began running online events and plan to run both virtual and in-person events in future. Further details and recordings of previous speakers’ talks can be found on the Events page.  

2. Public Issues

QAAD also works in the public arena, where we continue the tradition of expressing a Quaker perspective on policies and practices that could help to reduce harm. Whilst QAAD does not speak on behalf of Britain Yearly Meeting, all of our public work is based firmly on Quaker principles and informed by our faith. We also work closely with ecumenical colleagues who share our concerns.

Our research monitors trends and policy developments, investigating differing perspectives and promising approaches to inform our work. This helps to ensure that our responses to government and other consultations and discussions are always evidence-led. We share the growing appreciation of the value of involving people with lived experience, and seek opportunities to meet with people from many different perspectives. Examples of our consultation responses can be found on the Public Work page.

3. Young Friends

QAAD supports young Friends by offering workshops on request, attending gatherings such as Junior Yearly Meeting, and producing resources. Our concerns are not only about young peoples particular vulnerability, but also the impact on their mental health and wellbeing if there is a substance or gambling problem within the family. This work has increasingly focused on contact with Friends working directly with young people, and our Director attends meetings with Quaker Youth Workers and the Quaker Youth Work Network. In addition, we are actively exploring how to increase our support for Meetings and families. 

QAADRANT is our quarterly newsletter featuring updates on current research, policy, and new approaches to help prevent and treat harm. We encourage Friends to contribute letters and articles about personal experiences or subjects about which they are particularly concerned. 

QAADRANT is inserted in the Friend and can be read via this website. Print copies are available on request from our Director. Whilst there is no charge or subscription, we always appreciate Friends’ contributions towards the cost of print and distribution.

Alison Mather is employed as Director to advance QAADs concerns. Her role is to develop and facilitate QAADs work and to serve the Committee of Trustees.  

Our current trustees are: Ron Barden (Northamptonshire AM); David Barry (Sussex East AM); Susan Bewley; Eva Deregowska (North Scotland AM); Tim James (Hampshire and the Islands AM); Jon Lyon (Mid-Somerset AM); and Christine Pryer (Kingston and Wandsworth AM). 

QAADs activities are funded entirely by donations from individuals, charitable trusts, and Local and Area Meetings; investment income; and by drawing around £30,000 from our reserves each year. More donations would enable us to reduce the deficit, and to extend and continue our work in future years. If you or your Meeting would like to make a single or regular donation, please visit the Donations page.

Our director produces an annual report summarising the work that has been completed during the previous year. Recent annual reports can be downloaded here: 2021 and 2022.