Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform

committed to preventing tragedy that arises from illicit drug use

Anne Deveson to speak of drug use and mental illness

Families struggling with the dual issues of mental illness and drug use also struggle to find services that will help them, but death or jail often claims them before appropriate services can be found.

"It is a sad indictment on our society when people suffering from mental illness or drug addiction are thrown in jail where there is little treatment or understanding of the illness," said Brian McConnell, President of Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform.

Anne Deveson, parent, writer and broadcaster with a long involvement in social justice issues, will be speaking at the 7th Annual Remembrance Ceremony for Those Who Lose Their Lives to Illicit Drugs. Anne is also author of the best selling book "Tell Me I’m Here" about the personal impact of schizophrenia on family life.

"What makes this struggle with illegal drugs and mental illness even worse is that families often have to deal with society’s views", Brian McConnell continued, "where parents and communities are made to feel the blame for this predicament. Users and their families are set up for failure by inadequate and scarce treatment options and unrealistic insistence on getting ‘clean’ or on being referred on to yet another service. There is a refusal to understand that both addiction and mental illness are long term health conditions but it is the whole person who needs to be treated not just the condition."

"This ceremony is a time for families and friends to grieve amongst a caring, understanding community and to recognise the worth of the drug users who have died because of their addiction and of those suffering a mental illness. It also seeks to lift the veil of shame and silence that is so disempowering."

Similar ceremonies are being held in several locations throughout Australia.



Contact Brian McConnell (02) 6254 2961, Mobile 04 0907 4033

Place: Weston Park, Yarralumla, ACT at the memorial rock located on the right of Weston Park Road opposite the Prescott Lane junction.

Time: 12:30pm

Date: 4 November 2002