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Help for families

A national listing of support services and programs to help families can be found here:

Information and support for families of users

Living with a family member who has a problem with alcohol or drugs can be hard and can affect the whole family. Sometimes people don't get help because they feel shame talking about alcohol or other drug use in their family. If you are worried about someone in your family who is using alcohol or other drugs, it can be helpful to get some information and support.

If you want information or support or are worried about someone’s alcohol or other drug use call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) in your state.

Helping a user to help themselves

There are things you can do to help a family member who is thinking about changing their alcohol or other drug use:

Alcohol and drug treatment services

Alcohol and drug treatment services provide help for people who use alcohol or drugs – to manage their use, and help to stop using. The type of alcohol or drug treatment service a person needs will depend on the person, the type of drug they are using and their own personal situation.

The main types of treatment services are:

Services that have a family focus

Many alcohol and drug services understand the important role that families can play and encourage family involvement in supporting a person with an alcohol or drug problem. Some services such as Saranna women and children’s program can offer residential programs for women with children. There are also parenting support services such as those provided by CAAPS family services which seek to support and strengthen family relationships in a way that is culturally secure.

Here are some examples of other programs that have a family focus:

New South Wales

Boomerangs parenting program
Family health (Riverina Medical and Dental Aboriginal Corporation)
Marrin Weejali Aboriginal alcohol and other drug programs

Victoria

Mallee District Aboriginal Services Drug & Alcohol Counselling
Family support program
Breakthrough: ice education for families

Western Australia

Aboriginal family support service

Queensland

Pormpur Paanthu Aboriginal Corporation
The Healing Centre

Northern Territory

Alcohol and other drugs – kids in focus
Piliyintinji-ki stronger families (PSF)

South Australia

Strong men, strong families
Umoona Tjutagku Health Service Aboriginal Corporation's (UTHSAC) drug and alcohol program

Tasmania

Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs program (Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre)

 

Click here for a complete Knowledge Centre listing of services for families.

Supporting women during pregnancy

Families and whole communities help to raise children. Caring for children starts before a baby is born. It is important that women who are pregnant keep themselves healthy and well and are given good support so that their baby has the best start in life. Drinking alcohol or taking drugs while pregnant can harm the unborn baby. For women who are pregnant or planning to have a baby, not using alcohol or drugs is the safest choice for growing a strong baby.

Dads are very important in supporting women to not drink or take drugs while they are pregnant. Cutting down their own use is one way of giving support to their partner.

They can also provide a lot of support by:

Some medicines can harm the unborn baby. If you are taking medicine, make sure you ask your doctor or health care worker if the medication is safe to take during pregnancy. 

Source: WA Drug and Alcohol Office (2013) Healthy pregnancies and alcohol - Strong Spirit Strong Future

Keep you and your baby healthy by:

Talk with your health worker or doctor if you are pregnant and would like help with ideas or tips to cut down or stop your alcohol and drug use.

Click on these links if you would like more information on any of these topics

Knowledge Centre Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) resource

Stay strong and healthy: pregnancy resources for Aboriginal women

Your guide to dealing with teenagers and grog

Parent and family drug support: information and support pack for Aboriginal parents and families

References

Information on this page is taken from:

Bullen L, Casey W, Childs S, Ferguson J, Jack P, Keats J, Miller L, Simpson L, Walker E, Winstock A, Woods J, Strong Spirit Strong Mind team (2012) General principles. In: Lee K, Freeburn B, Ella S, Miller W, Perry J, Conigrave K, eds. Handbook for Aboriginal alcohol and drug work. Sydney: University of Sydney:1-64

Parent Drug Information Service (2009) Parent Drug Information Service information and support pack for parents and families. Perth, WA: Western Australia Drug and Alcohol Office

Western Australian Drug and Alcohol Office (2013) Healthy pregnancies and alcohol : Strong Spirit Strong Future Perth, WA: Western Australian Drug and Alcohol Office

Western Australian Drug and Alcohol Office (2010) Strong spirit strong mind: Aboriginal ways of reducing harm from alcohol and other drugs, strong babies. Perth, WA: Western Australian Drug and Alcohol Office

Western Australian Drug and Alcohol Office (2013) Strong Spirit Strong Future: promoting healthy women and pregnancies resource for professionals. Perth, WA: Western Australia

Radio interview

Listen to our radio interview on Tjuma Pulka about the AODKC Community Portal.

MP3 Download (5.9MB)

 
 
Last updated: 27 March 2017
 
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Australia's National Research Centre on AOD Workforce Development National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre National Drug Research Institute