Family Drug Support Australia
Support Line: 1300 368 186
(available 24 hours 7 days a week)

FDS Media Releases

National Leadership by Innovation Continues

An FDS COVID-19 Response
National Leadership by Innovation Continues

Co-Founder and CEO of Family Drug Support (FDS), Tony Trimingham OAM, who started the organisation after encountering a lack of services for families following the death of his son Damien 23 years ago has announced a new innovative initiative to assist families: “In supporting families with alcohol and other drugs issues, FDS has been given the opportunity to gain an incredible depth of understanding and insight into the needs of family members over the past 23 years.

All Governments Need to Support Pill Testing

HRA FDS logo
All Governments Need to Support Pill Testing
1st May 2018

Harm Reduction Australia and Family Drug Support are calling on all Governments (Federal, State & Territory) to immediately reconsider their positions on pill testing and support further trials around the country.

In response to recently reported comments by Federal MPs, Warren Entsch and Lisa Singh, Mr Trimingham, CEO & Founder of Family Drug Support said:

Families around the country don’t always understand the risks that some young people take. However, they are aware that some family members attend music festivals and probably realise that part of that experience can involve using drugs. While they clearly prefer that their family members did not use drugs, their main concern is health and safety. From hundreds of discussions with family members, we know that pill testing has their widespread support. People opposed to this life-saving program need to stop and ask themselves one question – if that was your child at a festival about to take a pill would they want them to know more about the risks involved with what they are about to do or not?

Mr Vumbaca, President of Harm Reduction Australia added:

It has been very encouraging to see MPs around the country come out in support of pill testing. What they understand is that pill testing does not encourage or condone drug use. It simply provides a critical service that allows patrons whom have already passed through security and are preparing to take a drug to pause, have it analysed to understand exactly what they have in their hands, talk to experts to learn more about its potential effects and harms, and then consider disposing of the drug safely or understanding where and how to seek assistance should something adverse occur.

Both Mr Trimingham and Mr Vumbaca reiterated that pill testing has been in place for many years in other countries and that politicians of all persuasion needed to understand and be guided by the evidence.

Mr Trimingham added:

As the father of someone that has lost a son to drugs the last thing I would do would be to support a program that in any way would increase the risk of harm.

For further information, please contact:

Mr Tony Trimingham         0412-414-444
Mr Gino Vumbaca              0408-244-552

Family Drug Support celebrates 20 years of supporting families

FDS logo

Over 80 people gathered in the member’s dining room of NSW Parliament house on Friday September 15 to celebrate 20 years since FDS was founded.

Master of ceremonies Gino Vumbaca kept the evening rolling along with entertaining and interesting interviews. Various people who have been important to the development of FDS were acknowledged including former chairs Ann Symonds, Professor Peter Baume and John Della Bosca. Founding, former and present Board members were also acknowledged and thanked, past and present staff and volunteers also mentioned and the presence of many key people in the Alcohol and other Drugs sector.

James from the office had put together a nostalgic reflection on the year 1997 and Sandra compiled a historic collection of media reports from the year that FDS was founded for people to take away. Rev Bill Crews and Tony had an informal chat reflecting on the early days – many people commenting that they should take the show on the road! Tony paid tribute to Sandra who has been with him through the good and bad years, the challenges and the pain. John Della Bosca gave the third Michael Dawson, Evan Thomas and Brian McConnell annual oration on the topic of the 1999 NSW Drug Summit which of course changed things forever. In his summing up at the end of the evening Tony angrily lamented the lack of progress since and challenged people to get active as John Della Bosca had also done in his speech.

The evening was enjoyable, great dinner, good music from Rory also added to the night and the buzz around the room told how much people felt comfortable and were having a good time.

There was pause to remember people who had made great contributions to FDS who are no longer with us. Tony would like to thank the FDS staff for making people feel comfortable and welcome. Organising an event like this takes time, energy and team work and we are particularly proud of the NSW office staff who did far more than we could expect. Thank you to Emma, Sandra, Louise, James, Amy, Jenny and Julie.

Tony could not find support when he was confronted with Damien’s drug use – there is now somewhere for families to turn too. This is our greatest legacy.

FDS 20 Years FDS 20 Years FDS 20 Years

Remembrance day ceremonies bringing together families to remember those who have lost their lives to drugs - 22 July 2017

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Ceremony details: 6 pm, 22nd July at Ashfield Uniting Church, 180 Liverpool Road, Ashfield

Has anyone in your family died as a result of alcohol or other drug use? For the past 20 years, Family Drug Support has held ceremonies to remember those who have been lost. These are simple ceremonies which involve music, reading of names and lighting candles.

For details about remembrance ceremonies around the country, please visit:

If you would like a candle lit and a name read and added to our Memorial Wall, please contact FDS Head Office on 02 4782 9222.

These events have brought comfort to many families over the years, as we focus on the people, not the drugs used.

Read more: Remembrance day ceremonies bringing together families to remember those who have lost their lives...

Research uncovers stigma facing families with drug and alcohol problems - 23 July 2016

Research launched to mark International Drug Remembrance Days around Australia on Saturday 23rd July 2016

On the eve of the International Drug Remembrance Day, new research has revealed the depth of stigma faced by families dealing with drug and alcohol problems. The research commissioned by Family Drug Support found that half of all people would hide a family member’s drug or alcohol problems from their own friends.

The research found that the sense of shame is highest in the older generations with 57% of over 55’s saying they would hide the issue of a drug or alcohol dependent family member. Additionally, men are also more likely to keep problems secret; 53% would keep quiet compared to 48% of women.

Founder of Family Drug Support, Tony Trimingham commented, “Unfortunately many people feel shame having a drug or alcohol dependent family member and this serves to stop them from seeking the support and assistance they need. My concern is that we are seeing overdose deaths increase each year and people hiding what is happening only increases the risk that families could lose those they care for to drugs. Through our work we aim to destigmatise drug and alcohol problems and reinforce the message that drug-related harms and deaths do not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, money or any other factors and most importantly, that support and assistance is available.”

Family Drug Support is the only national service providing 24-hour support for families impacted by others drug use. The organisation will mark the 19th Annual International Remembrance Day on 23rd July with a ceremony and supper to bring together families of those who have lost family members to accidental overdose, drug-related suicide and other drug related deaths.

Read more: Research uncovers stigma facing families with drug and alcohol problems - 23 July 2016