Sonder acknowledges Family Drug Support Day

International Family Drug Support Day

Today on the 24th of February, Sonder acknowledges International Family Drug Support Day. The theme for 2021 is ‘family connection, not tough love’.


About Family Drug Support

Tony Trimingham, Founder and CEO of Family Drug Support, lost his vibrant and beloved son Damien to drug overdose in 1997 and was inspired to create a new paradigm of support with the family’s needs in mind.

Family Drug Support invites family members to meet in a non-judgmental, safe environment to talk, listen and share their journeys.

They aim to assist families across Australia, providing education on harm reduction strategies and reducing stigma to encourage help-seeking, compassion and understanding.

To find a support group or educational workshop near you in South Australia, head to

If you are a family member or carer of a person with a substance use disorder, you can get support 24 hrs/7 days a week from FDS’s national telephone support line on 1300 368 186.


Why is it important to support those who care for someone with a substance use disorder?

Providing education and coping strategies for families, carers and friends reduces harm and prevents deaths for people experiencing substance use disorders.

Chloe Colton, Clinical Worker in Sonder’s In-Home Withdrawal Service, explains:

With a non-judgmental approach, we can help families, friends and carers to create healthy-boundaries and keep safe, which will in turn improve outcomes for the people they are supporting.”

Sonder’s In-Home Withdrawal Service guides clients through a three-step withdrawal process in their own home with the help of a skilled team of health professionals, along with a support person of the client.

The role of the support person is to live with the client during the withdrawal phase. The support person is also offered counselling sessions with Family Drug Support.

Chloe explains, “we encourage the support person, or any person who is caring for someone with a substance use disorder, to seek help and take time out for self-care.”


Family connection, not tough love

Supporting families and carers to understand addiction can strengthen family connection.

Many families become affected by substance use suddenly. Unequipped with knowledge, strategies and coping mechanisms, families can turn to shaming their loved one.

Peer Support Worker, Bonnee Nash, who works in the In-Home Withdrawal Service, speaks of her experience as a recovering drug user.

“I just wanted some compassion and understanding. Sometimes my family tried to shame me for my behaviour thinking that it would rid me of addiction but all it did was make me feel more shame and guilt, and use more.

What I needed was some understanding and compassion.”

Bonnee explains, everyone in the family needs support and education around navigating addiction.

“At first, the family will want to jump in and save them. But eventually, they understand that they can’t. It’s the process between trying to help and concluding they can’t that is often described as hell.”

This is why during the 3-step process in Sonder’s In-Home Withdrawal Service, the support person is offered counselling sessions with Family Drug Support.

Debby Kadarusman, AOD Services Team Leader at Sonder, says

“Thanks to Family Drug Support, our clients’ support people can also receive guidance, and we know the best outcomes occur when the family is involved in the client’s care.”


How do I access the In-Home Withdrawal Service?

You can self-refer to the service by completing the online referral form available on our website or by calling our friendly team on 8209 0700.

If you prefer, you can ask your GP or a community worker to fill out the referral form and send it back to us.

Find out more about the In-home Withdrawal Service.


Finding it hard to cope?

You can always contact the team at Sonder and we will help you find a service that’s right for you. Our mental health services are free. Take a look at what we offer here.

Call Sonder on 8209 0700 to find out more.