Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform

committed to preventing tragedy that arises from illicit drug use

11th Annual Remembrance Ceremony


Canberra Union Voices (led by Ms Chrissie Shaw) 
Prelude: Baba Waian - Traditional Torres Strait song arranged by Rachel Hore  

Welcome and Introduction - Brian McConnell, President, Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform

‘Reflections’ – TonyTrimingham OAM, CEO Family Drug Support

Canberra Union Voices Step by step - composed by Lee Hayes, arranged by Chrissie Shaw

Address:  Senator Lyn Allison, Parliamentary Leader, Australian Democrats

Remembrance of those who have lost their life to illicit drugs  
    Reading of names –                        Bishop Pat Power, Archdiocese of Canberra & Goulburn  
    Placing of flowers at foot of memorial 
    Canberra Union Voices: Taku Mana - Traditional Maori song arranged by Rachel Hore

Address: Bishop Pat Power

Canberra Union Voices: Salaam - composed by the Israeli group, Sheva, arranged by Melanie Shanahan

Why Remember

We have journeyed here today to gather under this tree to remember and celebrate lives that should not have been lost.

While death is a normal part of life, it is not normal that young life should end.

A darkness crept across those bright young lives. It was not just the shadow of drugs but the blackness of cruel judgement. Like this tree, it is normal for life to have thorns as well as blossoms. It is normal for young people to take risks. It is normal to seek relief from stress or depression. It is normal to be foolish and make mistakes.  Who of us standing here was free of such faults in our youth?

As a society we did not protect them from exposure to drugs nor are we protecting the generation following them. Thus exposure of our children to drugs has become normal.

What is normal but should not be normal is the condemnation of life that gets caught by the embrace of drugs: the unforgiving judgement of fault, the denial of worth and the exclusion.

It is normal to seek cures for health conditions. It is also normal to seek to alleviate the symptoms of disabling conditions when they cannot be quickly cured. A cruel fantasy grips us when we make treatment conditional upon people achieving the elusive abstinence that they too seek. 

It is even worse when we sacrifice someone to send a message: when we deny treatment and help on the ground that to do so would “normalise” drug use.

We ourselves can become a living memorial to those who have died if we see them and those now in the embrace of drugs as first and foremost human beings of infinite value and not problems of addiction. Human life comes first.