See the person, not the drug: Behind every addict, there is a family in pain

QUEENSLAND will take part in a new national campaign launched to end the shame and stigma often experienced by families of people living with problematic alcohol or drug use.

National Family Drug Support Day on 24 February highlights the need to look past the stigma of drug use and instead see the person who is someone’s son, daughter, sister, brother, mother or father.

This year, Family Drug Support marks two decades helping families adversely affected by alcohol and other drug use.
It also marks two decades since prominent campaigner Tony Trimingham lost his son Damien to a drug overdose.


Mr Trimingham said “behind every statistic of a drug-related overdose death, arrest or hospitalisation, there is a family suffering pain, all too often in a cloud of stigma and shame”.

The Queensland Mental Health Commission is supporting a range of Family Drug Support activities over 12 months in southeast Queensland and regionally with a $41,500 grant from the Stronger Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Grants Program.

As well as seeking to reduce stigma and discrimination for families and drug users, National Family Drug Support Day helps promote support services for families and harm reduction strategies, also key approaches under the Queensland Alcohol and Other Drugs Action Plan 2015-17.

Dr van Schoubroeck said demand and harm reduction were as important to tackling problematic drug use as supply reduction, and families were at the frontline.

“Families and communities play a big role in supporting people to recover from dependency and reconnect with the community.

“Families are often caught in the middle of a situation they’ve never dealt with before, over which they have little control. They can feel judged, misunderstood, isolated and at times overwhelmed.

“At the same time, they are often the most important source of support and recovery for their family member.

“With the right support for individuals, their families and communities, people who become dependent can and do recover to live lives with purpose.”

Dr van Schoubroeck said community consultation to renew alcohol and other drugs approaches under Queensland’s Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Strategic Plan had recently commenced.

Information about Strategic Plan Renewal consultations can be found at

Find support: The Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) provides confidential and anonymous telephone counselling and information for individuals, families and others. ADIS is available 24/7 by calling freecall 1800 177 833.

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