New Jersey – International Family Drug Support Day is a global event on February 24th, which aims to highlight the need for families to not only be recognized and heard, but to be supported and encouraged to speak about their concerns and their needs in drug policy. This year, U.S. based non-profit organizations; Families for Sensible Drug Policy and Help Not Handcuffs are joining forces with global partners to spread the message of International Family Drug Support Day, which is “See the Person Not the Drug.”
International Family Drug Support Day was created to honor the drug overdose passing of Damien Trimingham, the son of Tony Trimingham, founder of Australia’s Family Drug Support organization. In response to this tragedy, organizations are holding events and publicly highlighting the needs of families, which are not addressed in drug policy. The reality for many families is that there are limited programs and services available and many policies adversely affect families, all too often under a cloud of stigma and shame.
The objectives of the International Day are to:
- Reduce stigma and discrimination for families and drug users
- Promote family drug support services for families and friends
- Promote harm reduction strategies for families and friends
FSDP Cofounders Barry Lessin and Carol Katz Beyer said “we are privileged to join Mr. Tony Trimingham and our global partners this Friday, 2/24 as we stand in solidarity to, as Tony says: "speak about and address drug use in the way we have learned to accept mental health, disabilities and other conditions. The impact this could have on the tens of thousands of families and lives affected by drug use would be incredible"
Randy Thompson, CEO of Help Not Handcuffs stated “As long as our governments continue to criminalize drug use, then prohibition laws will be the priority, instead of the health and empowerment of individuals and supporting the families to be resilient when any kind of substance use occurs.”
Community members are encouraged to participate in International Family Drug Support Day by:
- Donate to help with pamphlets, posters and informational materials.
- Promote the day on Social Media #SeeThePersonNotTheDrug
- Reach out to neighbors, community leaders and legislators by using these talking points.
- Invite friends, family or coworkers to share an informal gathering over food or coffee to share discussion and voice the issues.
Other coalition partners include: The Urban Survivors Union, Students for Sensible Drug Policy of University of North Georgia, Full Circle Recovery Center LLC, The Center for Optimal Living and The Middle East and North Africa Network of/for People who use Drugs.