Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform

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National Conference

National Families & Community
Conference on Drugs

"Voices to be Heard"




On Friday and Saturday of this week (10-11 November 2000) a major national conference on families and drugs will be held at the Soka Gakkai International Australian Culture Centre at Homebush Bay. It is organised by Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform and Family Drug Support.

Thanks to financial support from the Australian National Council on Drugs it will provide a rare opportunity for those across the country - including those from regional and remote communities - from Bunbury to the Alice, Cape York and Tasmania - to get together and address drug use, policy and programs.

No issue looms so large from the personal, family and community levels to the national level. It is a bond of suffering that brings us together. We forget that families, users, drug workers and the community are in the same boat. All too often we are paddling in different directions. This conference will provide a special opportunity to work out how we might pull together. We must do this if we are to overcome the drug crisis.

The conference will not shirk tough questions like these. We do not expect it to come up with a complete set of answers but we are confident that it will be a big step along the road to finding them.

The first step is to give an opportunity for voices to be heard. Those voices will articulate different experiences and view points. We will listen and respect each other. We will not talk past each other as so often occurs.

The core of the "Voices to be Heard" conference is therefore the stories of families, users and drug workers. The courage and endurance they reveal are triumphs of the human spirit. They are available at http://www.ffdlr.org.au. They will be related in plenary sessions and also in workshops where they will be the spring board for discussions on:

The first day, Friday, will be devoted to issues facing small organisations seeking to provide drug services in local communities.

The NSW Government and its agencies are providing substantial help to facilitate these workshops and the Hon. John Della Bosca, MLC, Special Minister of State will open the conference. This and the other support that the conference has received gives hope that we can lift the veil of shame that stifles voices and hides possibilities: that we can build co-operation where now there is conflict and denial.

Keynote speakers will include Rev'd Tim Costello, Prof Ian Webster, AO, who is President of the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia, Isabel Norvill and Douglas Walker of the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (SA) Inc and Anne Deveson.

At Homebush success is ours if we can learn to pull together like our team athletes who crowned themselves with Olympic success.

8 November 2000


Brian McConnell 0408 022 870 and, until am 9 November, (02) 6254 2961;

Tony Trimingham (02) 9715 2632 and 0412 414 444;

Ann Symond (02) 9389 6806.

Programme with stories available as a pdf file on:



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