Family Support Day Advocacy and Focus:
- Policy must focus on measures that reduce drug fatalities – families want policies and programs that keep their children alive. This includes harm reduction strategies such as safe injecting facilities, pill testing and heroin prescription programs.
- Families want informed and innovative policies and programs that reduce the likelihood of harm for their children. This means substantially increasing the proportion of funding directed at: harm reduction programs, community mobilization headed up by directly impacted people and their loved ones, services for people that are actively using substances (such as housing for all people).
- A reliance on criminal sanctions to address drug use only serves to create more problems – drug use is a health issue not a crime issue and families want services that assist their children not punish and criminalize them in a way that creates lifelong penalties. Drug users and their families should always be treated with respect care and compassion.
- Greater inclusion of family members in the decision-making process for families experiencing problematic drug use (with ultimate direction given to the person struggling)– For too long families have been left in the cold as they are often seen as part of the problem and drug users are seen as not capable of making decisions in their best interest. We must listen to people struggling and their families, they know better than anyone else what is going on and understand the complications and life struggles better than anyone else is able. Families must be included as partners and consulted on all aspects in the development and implementation of drug policies and programs.
- Family support must be recognized and resourced as a key element in achieving positive outcomes with people experiencing problematic drug and alcohol use, with a much greater emphasis needed to support Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse families – families want services that are there to help them as well as the affected individual.
- We need to change the language and labels around drug use. Unhelpful comments like – ‘clean’, ‘enabling’, ‘rock bottom’ and negative labels – ‘junkie’, ‘addict’ substance abuser, etc only increase shame and stigma and do nothing to help families. Tough love approaches do not help people struggling. Pain does not create or help people sustain positive change.
For more information about National Family Drug Support Day visit www.nationalfdsday.fds.org.au
Call Urban Survivor’s Union for Trainings around best practices for working with drug users.
Health Education- community organizing – capacity building work around drug user services.
Hepatitis C Education – Testing &Linkage to Care
Safer Drug Use Techniques and Supplies
Support Groups #SeeThePersonNotTheDrug