Since 2016, Family Drug Support has marked 24 February as a day to appreciate the important role families and loved ones play in supporting people experiencing alcohol and other drug problems. It is also an opportunity to recognise that families impacted by alcohol and other drug use require support and should know they are not alone.
When a loved one becomes dependent on alcohol or other drugs, life can become difficult and relationships strained. Caring and non-judgemental support is available through services dedicated to helping families overcome the stigma, isolation and discrimination they can sometimes face.
"Usually by the time they ring us there's been a crisis. There's been a knock on the door from the police. There might have been drugs found in the house. And people ring because they're absolutely in fear, anger, disappointed and lots of grieving." – Sandra Lines, Family Drug Support
Family Drug Support
Family Drug Support (FDS) provides support and assistance to families throughout Australia who may be having trouble with a family member using alcohol or other drugs.
FDS is a non-religious organisation staffed by non-judgemental and caring volunteers, many of whom have first-hand experience living with a family member experiencing alcohol or drug dependency.
FDS supports families by providing information about alcohol and other drugs, dependence and treatment options. They also facilitate programs and support groups to help families overcome self-blame and stigma through mutual support. Their programs aim to help people build the skills needed to strengthen their relationships.
"We're trying to get [families] to learn some strategies for survival; to communicate better, to have more honesty, to look after themselves– self-care is really important." – Tony Trimingham, Family Drug Support CEO and Founder
Families can contact FDS' Support Line 24 hours, 7 days a week on 1300 368 186. For further information on the support available through FDS, including their support groups and meetings, courses, events and resources, visit fds.org.au.
Get involved in 2021 International Family Support Day
Events are being held nationally to mark International Family Drug Support Day on 24 February 2021. Registrations are now open for families to attend the NSW event on Monday, 22 February 11am to 12.30pm held at the Mitchell Theatre, Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts.
For a full list of events and to register visit internationalfdsday.fds.org.au/2021-events.
Family Drug Support's Volunteer Program
Opportunities are open for volunteers to join FDS. For more information on FDS' Volunteer Program and how to become a volunteer, watch the following video featuring FDS CEO and founder Tony Trimingham and visit
Volunteering for FDS.
Information and resources for families
For Families is an NSW Health mini website on Your Room, full of evidence-based information to help family and loved ones deal with alcohol and other drug problems. The site contains information on:
- how to navigate the treatment and support systems
- how to approach a conversation with your loved one about getting help
- self-care and wellbeing tips, and
- young people and alcohol and other drugs.
For free and confidential advice 24/7 call Family Drug Support on
1300 368 186 or Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) on 1800 250 015. Counsellors are available to provide information, referrals, crisis counselling and support. Or start a
Web Chat with an ADIS counsellor online Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 5pm. ADIS can also provide up-to-date information about service availability in your area during the COVID-19 pandemic.