Untold Harm - Family

There is much written in recent years about the plight of the Australian drug user, the majority who didn’t start their journey into drug use because of trauma, but started out with an agenda to ‘party’ - only in search of a ‘better buzz/a good time!’ 

This now ‘positive’ focus is increasingly on the ‘rights’ and support of the self-harming individual (of which some is clearly warranted) But the growing, and by far, larger demographic that is paid little or no attention to, is the family of the drug taking individual. To borrow from an Alzheimer’s awareness campaign;  ‘He/She is a drug user, and the rest of the family suffer from it!’ For example, in our recent Ice scourge, the Sydney Morning Herald stated “For every one person using ice – 10 family members will be effected” (SMH 19/11/16) 

This egregious reality of course is rarely (if ever) spoken of, especially not by either pro-drug activists or any other non-civic minded ally – it  doesn’t serve well the brand of hedonistic self-indulgence party goer. These silent sufferers – these hurting families (and there are thousands) are more often dismissed or worse, made to feel guilty if they don’t accommodate every activity of the now captive consumer. 

Time and space here would not permit the diatribe of injustice that this speaks to, so we will refrain!

So, this space is dedicated to those who wish to step from their grief, vexation, fear, anger, and at times, utter despair, and share about not only what drugs do to their family, but more importantly challenging the notion that greater accessibility, acceptability and availability of drugs will make it ‘all better’ for their family and community!  

Read their stories and if you have one of your own, share it with us. This can be done anonymously and with complete confidentiality – Just submit your piece to drug-advice@daca.org.au for consideration. Again, all submissions will be treated respectfully and suitable ones posted with permission.


“Healing is a journey. While we will never move PAST our grief and loss of Matt, we are moving THROUGH it. We are grateful for the resources and the people we have met through The G.A.P. Network who have come along side of us. It has been a valuable support to Paul and me in a journey that we never imagined we would be on but, unfortunately, is one that all too many parents are taking because of the current opiate epidemic.” —Ellen Schoonover, Mother 



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In a brutally honest account Kerryn Redpath describes the terrifying scenes she witnessed as what began as "a bit of fun" spiralled into a shocking journey through the dark world of drug addiction. Chilling stories of drug overdoses, precious lives lost, drug and alcohol fuelle

d fights, months spent gravely ill in hospital, at one point being given less than two hours to live, will have the reader gripped to every page….This is a compelling story that takes the reader through one person’s journey from the depths of despair to the realms of hope and is hard to put down until the final page is read. 

“This is a story that should be read by all - young and old, parents, teenagers and current or past addicts of all persuasions.”   -   Associate Professor Peter Ryan  


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