DOING IT WITH FAMILY SUPPORT
We know from studies like Rat Park and Jaffe’s study of heroin-using soldiers returning from the Vietnam war that environment has an enormous influence on drug using behaviour. Family support has been shown to be very beneficial in helping people who use drugs make changes to their drug use.
In response to losing his son to a heroin overdose, Tony Trimingham formed Family Drug Support (FDS) in 1997 to support families whose children are using illicit drugs. He had a new philosophy out of odds with the “tough love” message of the day that encouraged parents to divorce themselves from their using children. In contrast, Trimingham knew that most parents just wanted a positive relationship with their kids. He believed people could be empowered to lovingly support a family member using drugs while staying centred and that this would put them in a position to contribute significantly if and when that family member chose to make changes to the way they used.
For a person using drugs, the support of their family can make all the difference. Being able to go home can change a life.
Thanks to FDS for allowing us to print stories from Lily and her mum Jenny. You can call FDS on 1300 368 186 or check out their resources at http://www.fds.org.au/.
(You can read more about the US soldiers’ experience)