Family connection and support, not tough love – that’s what families affected by alcohol and other drugs want the community to know on International Family Drug Support Day.
Tasmania’s Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council Tasmania (ATDC) is getting behind the call for supporting and connecting with families on International Family Drug Support Day.
“Many Tasmanians know that families are impacted by the negative consequences of alcohol and drug use, but it’s equally important for us to recognise the importance of families in positive outcomes for people who use alcohol and other drugs,” said ATDC chief executive Alison Lai.
International Family Drug Support Day first started in 2016 and draws attention to the importance of families affected by alcohol and/or drugs, including the benefits of supporting families.
“Families can also experience shame, stigma and isolation in relation to their family member’s alcohol and drug use, which is why it’s so important that families are adequately supported.
“Our members in the community-managed alcohol and drug sector see first-hand the benefits of family connection for their clients’ recovery, with many services also providing support to family members,” Mrs Lai said.
Outcomes for everyone are improved when families are provided with access to education, awareness, harm reduction strategies, resources and support services.
Kristian is one Tasmanian with lived experience of alcohol and other drug use who knows first-hand what can happen when families don’t get that support or education.
Kristian spoke to the ATDC to share some of his experiences and how he wants more opportunities for people to simply talk.
“There’s not one person in my family that doesn’t have an addiction,” Kristian said.
Kristian has a dependence on alcohol, as well as dealing with the impact of addiction in his family, and is the first in his family to seek support.
“There was no such thing available when I was young.
“There needs to be more conversations, because telling people ‘just don’t drink’ is not helpful,” Kristian said.
In Kristian’s experience alcohol is just a means to an end to help deal with or forget other issues that are causing stress in people’s lives.
“More talking and more access to counselling is important,” Kristian said.
The ATDC has heard directly from other people and families with lived experience that the COVID-19 pandemic amplified the feelings of concern and uncertainty.
“With waiting lists stretched people are waiting longer to access treatment, which only puts more pressure on families as they tread water waiting for a place to become available,” Mrs Lai said.
“That’s why we need increased investment into the community-managed alcohol and drug sector, to ensure that people and their families can access support when they need it, and we can see those positive outcomes sooner.
“The Tasmanian Government is aware of these challenges, and we’re talking with them about the range of solutions we’ve provided to address the immediate need, but it won’t come without an additional injection of funding into existing treatment services and programs.
“I give my sincere gratitude to Kristian for sharing his story with us to draw attention to the importance of supporting families affected by alcohol and other drugs,” Mrs Lai said.
Alcohol and Drug Information Service – 1800 811 994
Family Drug Support – 1300 368 186
Alcohol and Drug Services – 1300 139 641
Tasmanian alcohol and other drug service directory – www.atdc.org.au/service-directory
Media Contact: Alison Lai, CEO – 0450 517 017