IFDS Day 2024 Media Release

Families Demand Change International Family Drug Support Day 202 4 MEDIA RELEASE 24 February 202 4 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 . "When a family member is badly impacted by substance use, it can break you. It can break relationships. It can break families. Broken families weaken communities and are often hard to see, because we’re all very good at hiding the issue. But Family Drug Support sees us. And it helps us hold it all together - our families, our relationships and our sanity. Our whole community is strengthened when families like mine get the support we need to get out of bed every day and live our lives as best as we can, despite the problems our loved ones are experiencing" - Teresa - Family Member 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%)