FSDP Joins Forces with Global Partners for International Family Drug Support Day

FSDP is proud and excited to be partnering with organizations across the globe for International Family Drug Support Day on February 24, 2017!

FDSDayv2The 1st National Family Drug Support Day was held on February 24, 2016 coinciding with the anniversary of the passing of Damien Trimingham–the son of Tony Trimingham, founder of Australia’s Family Drug Support organization–from a drug-related overdose. National Family Drug Support Day was to be an annual event to highlight the need for families impacted by substance us to not only be recognized and heard but to be supported and encouraged to speak about their concerns and their needs.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of Family Drug Support, founder Tony Trimingham and FSDP Co-founders Barry Lessin and Carol Katz Beyer are joined by our friends and advocates standing in solidarity with Family Drug Support to raise awareness for the voice of the family to be heard around the world to be represented in the inaugural International Family Drug Support Day.

This year’s theme is #SeeThePersonNotTheDrug

The day is an annual event to highlight the need for families to not only be recognized and heard but to be supported and encouraged to speak about their concerns and their needs. The reality for many families is that there are limited programs and services available and many policies adversely affect families, all too often under a cloud of stigma and shame.

The objectives of the International Day are to:

  • Reduce stigma and discrimination for families and drug users
  • Promote family drug support services for families and friends
  • Promote harm reduction strategies for families and friends

In addition, the following issues will be highlighted:

  • The important role of FDS and FSDP volunteers in providing family support across Australia, the United States and the world.
  • Reducing fatal and non­fatal overdoses from drugs including pharmaceuticals.
  • Promoting the widespread availability of naloxone.
  • Promote greater inclusion of family members in the decision making process for families experiencing problematic drug use.
  • Promoting greater support and resources for treatment services.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Give a donation to help with the pamphlets, posters and badges being produced for the Day.
  • Share a photo and a story of 200 words or less of describing your loved one and we will post it on our Family Wall. Your message can be a remembrance of a loved one who has passed, a tribute to a family member’s recovery or a message of encouragement with helpful coping skills to maintain a healthy family relationship. Email us with your photos and stories and any questions you have to          Carol@fsdp.org or Barry@fsdp.org
  • Be an ambassador for change in your neighborhood by raising awareness within your community! Request to meet with your local schools, doctors, political representatives, law enforcement and clergy and we will provide you with a tool kit and promotional materials to support you in your advocacy. Talking points for communicating with the public are here.
  • Write or call your local state and federal legislators. To locate your US representative click here. Talking points for communicating with the legislators are here.
  • Invite friends, family or coworkers to share an informal gathering over food or coffee to share discussion and voice the issues.
  • Promote the Day on social media: #SeeThePersonNotTheDrug.

We welcome and encourage creative possibilities and opportunities to help you promote/plan your special event: town hall meetings, symposiums, themed collaborations with stakeholders and friends…contact us and let’s talk!

Please email us with your plans and ideas:  Carol@fsdp.org or Barry@fsdp.org

We look forward to make this event most memorable–with your help and support our loved ones will be free of shame and stigma and seen for who they are!

#SeeThePersonNotTheDrug

FSDP Brings the Voice of our Families to Aspiring Medical Professionals

IMG_1960One of FSDP’s missions is to bring the family voice to the various segments of our society that directly impact our health. So I was excited to be joined by FSDP members Brooke Feldman and Kenneth Anderson, as well as Fred Goldstein, Ph.D., Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) to share our perspectives on a panel discussion for medical students, “The Culture and Misperceptions of Addiction”, held at PCOM on Thursday, January 5, 2017.

The panel allowed us to reach healthcare providers at the beginning of their careers with a message about harm reduction, drug policy reform, progressive treatment and recovery, and substance use as public health and human rights issues. IMG_7851The audience of medical students were actively engaged and their questions prompted discussion about the nature of addiction, co-morbidity (dual diagnosis), engaging people in treatment, stigma, policy, epidemiology of substance use, impediments to effective care, conflicts of doctors…

Ken Anderson, founder of Harm Reduction, Abstinence and Moderation Support (HAMS) shared his expertise about the epidemiology and myths of substance use, addictIMG_7845ion, and recovery. Recovery advocate Brooke Feldman shared her unique perspectives on the lived experience of substance users, stigma, and the unique paths taken by people in recovery. I addressed some of the issues around the influences of culture and policy on substance users and families, and strategies for engaging young people and families in treatment.IMG_7846

Many thanks to our gracious hosts at PCOM, especially Maggie Gergen for coordinating the event, and FSDP Harm Reduction Epidemiologist April Wilson Smith for developing this event, and Co-Founder Carol Katz Beyer for her guidance.

FSDP is the Voice of the Family at UNGASS 2016

ungass2016_0Families for Sensible Drug Policy (FSDP) is representing the voice of families impacted by substance use at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem in New York City on April 19-21, 2016.

UNGASS 2016 is a meeting of the United Nations member states to assess and debate global issues such as health, gender, or in this case, the world’s drug control priorities.

The last time a special session on drugs was held, in 1998, its focus was the total elimination of drugs from the world. UNGASS 2016 Today, political leaders and citizens are pushing to rethink that ineffective and dangerous approach.

Why this summit matters

International debates on drugs are rarely more than reaffirmations of the established system. But 2016 is different because never before have so many governments voice displeasure with international drug control approaches. Never before, to this degree, have citizens around the world have put drug law reform on the agenda and passed regulatory proposals by referenda or popular campaigns. Never before have the health benefits of harm reduction approaches—which prevent overdose and transmission of diseases like HIV—been clearer. For the first time, there is significant dissent at the local, national, and international levels.

Why the family voice in drug policy matters

The role of the family is what is missing from much of the drug policy debate. Substance use doesn’t takes place in a vacuum but in the normal context of family life and relationships as well as the wider culture that the family resides in. Families are in a unique position to directly influence the development or resolution of substance use problems.

UNGASS 2016 held an Informal Interactive Stakeholder Consultation in February 2016 to give nonprofit and civil society organizations from around the world an opportunity to submit their statements and recommendations for drug policy reform. With the input and support of our diverse community of stakeholders and advocates, Barry Lessin made this statement at this meeting on behalf of the families of FSDP.
UNGASS Flyer

We will co-sponsor this Day of Protest and Action with the Drug Policy Alliance, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, The Center for Optimal Living and Help Not Handcuffs culminating in a workshop that bridges the gap between public policy and our homes, between parents and children, and connects the voices of diverse impacted communities.

 

 

 

We’re Bringing Dr. Robert Meyer’s CRAFT Workshop to Philadelphia

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We are excited to be partnering with the Parents Translational Research Center at the Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia, PA to bring Dr. Robert Meyers highly acclaimed Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) workshop to Philadelphia, PA from March 28, 2016 — March 30, 2016.

Supported by 20 years of peer-reviewed research, Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) is a comprehensive behavioral program that teaches families to optimize their impact on substance using loved ones while avoiding confrontation or detachment. CRAFT methods are evidence-based and provide families with a hopeful, positive, and more effective alternative to addressing substance problems than other intervention programs.

For complete information about the workshop click here: CRAFT PHILADELPHIA Brochure. Space is limited, so sign up today. Completion of this training is the first step toward becoming a certified CRAFT therapist. Continuing Education credits will be awarded upon satisfactory completion. For those of you who aren’t aware of CRAFT or if you want more information about the CRAFT approach, please check out this link.

Below is a testimonial by Dr. William R. Miller about Bob Meyers and the CRAFT trainings:

‘Bob Meyers has made exemplary contributions to knowledge about the treatment of substance abuse and dependence, overseeing two decades of programmatic research to develop, refine, adapt, test and disseminate CRAFT. Bob is an exceptional human being and colleague. He is a superb clinical teacher who garners top marks from audiences ranging from counselors in recovery to doctoral-level health professionals. Dr. Meyers brings extraordinary energy, compassion, depth and humanity to his research, treatment and training’. 

William R. Miller, Ph.D. Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry. 

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We look forward to seeing all interested mental health professionals there!

 

FSDP at the 2015 International Drug Policy Reform Conference

Families for Sensible Drug Policy (FSDP) was excited to be a part of the 2015 International Drug Policy Reform Conference November 18-21 in the Washington DC metro area.

Convened bi-annually by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), this year’s Reform Conference was the biggest ever, bringing together 1500 people from over 70 countries. FSDP had an exhibit table sponsored by Practical Recovery, offering us the opportunity to educate attendees about our work and connect with national and global organizations to explore collaboration possibilities.

DPA’s Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann’s keynote speech acknowledged the drug policy reform movement’s progress so far and challenged us to raise the bar by framing the drug policy reform movement as first and foremost a human rights movement. Co-founder Carol Beyer and I came away from the conference with a clearer understanding about the need for FSDP to continue projects that will reduce the harmful consequences of the drug war on our communities by  the effects on our communities that include the intersection of mass incarceration, poverty, race, class, and gender.

A highlight for us was attending National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW)‘s Community Session where Executive Director Lynn Paltrow and her staff shared their work protecting the rights of women whose lives and their families were destroyed by oppressive drug policies. We learned how some child welfare systems participate in this destruction by incorrectly correlating parenting ability and substance use.

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I had the honor of being on several panels, including the Youth Policy track panel, “What’s a Parent to Do When Youthful Experimentation Goes Awry”,  where I offered a harm reduction approach to parenting teens to and audience of stakeholders including parents, healthcare and educational professionals, and drug policy advocates. (at left)

11041095_1201694879847149_8234006082981402586_nWe were asked to participate on a panel at the screening of the film “The Business of Recovery”,  (with the film’s producer Greg Horvath, at right) which reveals how the treatment industry in the United States preys on addicts and families as commodities to make profit from by filling beds with outdated and ineffective treatment approaches.

12249884_10205230064253502_4263772189323238639_nIMG_1817Co-Founder Carol Katz Beyer and I had a pre-panel pow-wow with Jerry Otero, DPA’s Youth Policy Manager (at right); and harm reduction pioneer Patt Denning, co-author of Over The Influence (at left) stopped by our exhibit booth to exchange ideas on ways to get more harm reduction strategies into the hands of our families.

FSDP hosted a Community Session, “Bringing Communities Together: Family-Centered Harm Reduction and Drug Policy for the 21st Century” and participated in the “Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment Providers for Sensible Drug Policy Town Hall Meeting”, hosted by Dr. Andrew Tatarsky and Douglas Greene. It was an opportunity for us to expand our network of advocates and begin to develop strategic partnerships that include those living and working in underserved and marginalized communities.

 

2015 International Reform Conference

FSDP President and Co-founder Barry Lessin will be speaking on several panels at the Drug Policy Alliance’s 2015 International Reform Conference, November 18-21, 2015, a biennial event that brings together people from around the world who believe that the war on drugs is doing more harm than good. It brings together over 1,000 attendees representing 30 different countries.

FSDP will have an exhibit booth and sponsor a Community Session for attendees and FSDP community members to gather and network to share our vision for how drug policy reform can empower families.

2015 International Reform Conference

Bringing Communities Together

We are bringing communities together to create a new vision and approach to help those who confront substance use and mental health issues every day.

Our inaugural event, “Bringing Communities Together: A New Vision for Helping Individuals and Families Impacted by Substance Use and Mental Health Issues”, convened in New York City in September 2015, was a highly acclaimed collaboration of friends, family and internationally-lauded professionals coming together for a panel discussion and town hall-style meeting focusing on these issues impact individuals and their families.

bringing communities together