Families advocate and founder of Family Drug Support Mr Tony Trimingham said embracing whole families impacted by drug use was more likely to create positive outcomes.
This will be the focus of events planned for Brisbane and Queensland regional centres as part of International Family Drug Support Day (Saturday 24 February). The theme for this year is ‘Support the family — improve the outcome’.
Mr Trimingham said: “When clinicians, politicians and media talk about drug and alcohol issues affecting our communities they often raise the importance of assisting, supporting and engaging more with families. Unfortunately for many families the reality is much different.”
“Behind every statistic of a drug-related overdose death, arrest or hospitalisation there is a family suffering the pain. All too often in a cloud of stigma and shame.”
Mr Trimingham’s son Damien died in 1997 from a heroin overdose, prompting him to set up a Family Drug Support, which provides 24/7 telephone support, support groups and practical courses for families affected by alcohol and other drugs.
Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Ivan Frkovic said he recognised the important role and unique needs of families who are supporting loved ones.
“We are working with our government, non-government and private sector partners and the broader community, including family members, to improve service systems so that people with problematic drug use and their families experience better wellbeing and outcomes,” he said.
“I welcome the Queensland Government’s recently released Action on Ice plan and the significant investment in tackling the impact of ice, including improved family support and harm reduction services across the state, which will improve an individual’s recovery and enable greater opportunities for families to be supported.”
International Family Drug Support Day events, supported by the Queensland Mental Health Commission, will be held at a number of regional centres next week and in Brisbane on Friday 23 March, from 10am at the Sherwood Room, Brisbane City Hall.
The events aim to reduce stigma and discrimination for families and people experiencing problematic drug use, and promote harm reduction strategies.
To register to attend any of the Queensland events or for other Family Drug Support information visit www.internationalfdsday.fds.org.au
For further information, phone (02) 4782 9222.
Families seeking assistance can call the 24/7 Family Drug Support line on 1300 368 186 or visit www.fds.org.au