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International FDS Day 2022 Media Release

24 February 2022
International Family Drug Support Day 2022
Families Demand Change

Founder and CEO of Family Drug Support (FDS), Tony Trimingham OAM, who started the organisation after the death of his son Damien 25 years ago to the day, said that it was now abundantly clear that the national drug policy debate was missing a critically important voice - families.

Mr Trimingham added, “It appears that everyone has a say on our current drug policies, including politicians, police, religious leaders and media commentators, yet families are too often left out of these discussions, despite being the people, along with the people using drugs, most affected by the current policies.” 

“In our recent Voices to be Heard Survey of over 600 family members affected by someone else’s drug and alcohol use, families were unambiguous about their deep dissatisfaction with the status quo regarding drug policy. This was especially the case with the zealousness of government to pursue the punitive responses rather than those of compassion, which are far more effective in reducing harm and exacerbating problems for families.”

In looking at the results of the survey, families overwhelmingly support the following:

  • Needle & syringe programs (87.5%)
  • Pill testing services (85.7%)
  • Pharmacotherapy (methadone, buprenorphine etc.) programs (86.3%)
  • Medically supervised injecting centres (83.1%)
  • Medicinal cannabis (83.9%)
  • Prescription heroin programs (74.8%)

In addition, families wanted to see resources allocated to harm and demand reduction strategies by a factor of almost 7:1 when compared to law enforcement strategies.

The reality being experienced by families from the extraordinarily harmful legal consequences of drug use resulted in families overwhelmingly supporting the legalisation of cannabis and strongly supporting the decriminalisation of all currently illicit drugs.

Furthermore, it is also clear that families often try tough love approaches (60%) when trying to deal with drug and alcohol issues with family members but find them to be ineffective and problematic.

As a result, families become far more in favour of strategies that encourage connection and coping (86%), with as few as 10% continuing to support tough love approaches.

Mr Trimingham said – “It is definitely time for these voices to be heard and for change to happen. Families are demanding reform and governments simply need to start listening”.

A copy of the survey report is available is here.

 Mr Trimingham also wanted to thank the many sponsors and supporters that are helping with International Family Drug Support Day and supporting families.

For further information, please contact:

Mr Tony Trimingham
Founder & CEO
Family Drug Support
0412 414 444

Family Drug Support Australia

Supporting families and friends of people who use substances as well as bereaved families in Australia.

SUPPORT LINE (24 Hours - 7 Days)
Phone: 1300 368 186

© Family Drug Support Australia / PO Box 7363 Leura NSW 2780 / ABN 49 081 764 258.
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