Family Drug Support Day 2021: The critical role of families in driving evidence based treatment and harm prevention.

Today, Family Drug Support Day gives us time for pause to consider the positive role families play for people in recovery and the work undertaken by alcohol and other drug treatment services.

While it allows us to take stock of how far we have come in progressing positive reforms in drug law reform, there is still so much more to do.

Harm reduction practices, such as peer work, NSP, pill testing and medically supervised injecting, while enjoying a robust evidence base, need a greater emphasis and capacity to reduce the huge overdose toll, which has risen by 51% over the past decade.

We have spoken to many families over the years who have lost loved ones and relayed to us the detrimental impact of stigma on help seeking. They have told us of the extensive wait times to access the AOD treatment sector, which has been chronically underfunded. As the COVID-19 restrictions ease, we hear from our member AOD agencies that the queues are building and people are presenting with more acute issues.

It is vital that families are provided with the opportunity to be involved in supporting their loved ones and further, that services which support families are resourced to continue to provide optimal support.

Today, on Family Drug Support Day, VAADA recognises the challenges facing people who use drugs and their families of the impact of stigma and how it can result in systemic limitations in access to support in the broader health and social services sector. We acknowledge the vital role families play keeping people alive.


Sam Biondo

Executive Officer

Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association