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First Ireland based International Family Drug Support Day – A great success!

The Family Addiction Support Network organised an information/awareness event at their premises Lois Dubh, Dundalk, last Tuesday 26th February 2019. This comes on the back of the new National Drugs’ Strategy ‘Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery; a health led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017-2025’ and to the mark the International Family Drug Support Day 24th February 2019.

The event was well attended by local services providers both from the Statutory and Community and Voluntary Sector.

In her opening address the Chairperson of the Family Addiction Support Network Jackie Mc Kenna spoke of the event having been organised to firstly support the International Family Support Day which was an initiative to create global awareness around Family Support.

Whether it’s Dundalk, Dublin, Newry, or in Holland, Hong Kong or New York, the effect of substance misuse on the Family is the same worldwide. She also spoke of the importance of introducing those attending the seminar to the work of the Family Addiction Support Network helping them to understand the necessity of families being supported and included in the treatment & rehabilitation of their loved one.

Jackie went on to state that it was important to create public awareness of the impact of drug-related violence/intimidation has on the local communities in which drug dealers live and operate and the huge pressure it puts on families, and last but not least, collectively, we need to break down the stigma and isolation experienced by drug users and their families within our communities which often creates barriers to them accessing support.

Jackie spoke of the need to create an environment that offered compassion and support instead of judgement and exclusion.

One of the key speakers Gwen McKenna, the original founder member of the Family Addiction Support Network and co-ordinator of service provision, outlined the work she undertakes on behalf of the Network including training and internal support and supervision to all Peer Led Family Support Facilitators and leads out on the delivery of the 5 Step Method within FASN and the development of new Peer Family Support Groups.

Gwen also works on a one to one basis with family members and spoke passionately of the distress they suffer and the barriers they encounter to access support for themselves and their family member.

Gwen emphasized the need for the voices of the family members to be heard and that they are involved in the development and delivery of service provision.

Another guest Speaker Anna Quigley, Citywide, spoke of how the families will be included in the New Drug Strategy through the inclusion of the National Family Support Network as members of the National Structure tasked to develop the new national Drugs Strategy.

She also delivered a presentation on the National Stop the Stigma Campaign to highlight the need for Addiction to be understood and seen as a health issue not a crime.

The final presentation of the morning was delivered by Ger Doherty, National Family Support Network, supported by Garda Inspector Ronan Carey on the Drug-related Intimidation Reporting Programme.

This was a highly informative and thought provoking presentation. Before closing a lively discussion on the mornings presentations took place with a resounding acknowledgement that greater networking occasions like this are essential.

Family Addiction Support Network Ph: 042 9355251 Email: info.fasn@gmail.com www.fasn.ie

Our Mission:

To assist families in the North East of Ireland to achieve a greater understanding of addiction, empower them to improve their quality of life and fulfil a positive role in the recovery of their loved one, should they choose to take it.

What is Addiction?

  • Addiction is a complex disease, often chronic in nature, which affects the functioning of the brain and body.
  • It also causes serious damage to families, relationships, schools, workplaces and neighbourhoods.
  • The most common symptoms of addiction are severe loss of control, continued use despite serious consequences, preoccupation with using, failed attempts to quit, tolerance and withdrawal.
  • Addiction can be effectively prevented, treated and managed by healthcare professionals in combination with family or peer support.

Drug Stigma & Shame:

  • The truth is, addiction is a disease. A person with an addiction can’t “just stop” taking drugs. A drug or alcohol problem isn’t something to be ashamed about—it’s something to get help for.
  • Stigma looms over parents or family members who have a loved one struggling with a substance use disorder. Insensitive and dehumanising words like “junkie”  or “druggie” can and do sting. Far too often, society has a knee-jerk reaction to those struggling with an addiction disorder.
  • What must be understood is that a drug or alcohol addiction is not a moral failing. It’s a disease that requires professional treatment.
  • Stigma causes guilt and shame and is the major component that prevents those experiencing addiction — and their loved ones — from seeking professional help.

The people at FASN understood everything my family and I was going through simply because they had been there too. They gave me a glimmer of hope and so and I was so glad when I attended my first family support meeting.

– Family Member, Dundalk Support Group

I learned to look after myself and got new coping skills. It has brought me great peace, tolerance and freedom to let my family member take the consequences for the choices THEY make. Heartfelt thanks Family Support!

– Family Member, Cavan Support Group

Family Support became my lifeline. Each week I couldn't wait to get to my group. It became like my family. I was accepted, never criticized or judged for the way in which I handled situations. Thank you, Thank you Family Support.

– Family Member, Cavan Support Group


Family Support can be offered on a one-to-one basis or in a group setting. The model of family support that the Network advocates is peer family support. This is where a number of people with a common problem in our case living with drug use, come together to share their experiences.

What does a Family Support Group do?

A Family Support Group is a safe, confidential, non-judgemental place for family members to discuss issues emerging from the problem of drug or alcohol use within the family. From the shared experiences of the group, members may find useful strategies for coping with their particular problem. More importantly the support group is more than just having a group of friends. It is about respecting each other’s right to speak and to let go of the worries and stresses they have as a result of drug or alcohol use in the family.


We offer an open, friendly, accessible and non-judgmental family support service so that no family has to live with the isolation that drug use can bring. Come along to one of our weekly meetings that take place in Dundalk, Cavan, Drogheda or Navan. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you feel, for the moment, you need 1 to 1 support. We are are here to help & support you.

Call: 042 93 55251 / 087 9046405 /

Emall: info.fasn@gmail.com

Navan Support Group

Wednesday Evening, 7.00pm – 9.00pm

Unit 2, First Floor,
Kennedy Road,
Co. Meath

Drogheda Support Group

Thursday Evening, 7.30pm – 9.30pm

The Stables,
Batchelors’ Lane
Co. Louth

Dundalk Support Group

Thursday Evening, 7.30pm – 9.30pm

The Hub, Lios Dubh
Armagh Rd

Cavan Support Group

Monday Evening (except bank holidays), 7.30pm – 9.30pm

26 Bridge Street,
Co. Cavan

Monaghan Support Group

Tuesday Evenings , 7.30pm – 9.30pm

Iontas Centre,
Co. Monaghan

Upcoming Events

26th February 2019

International Family Drug Support Day

Information/awareness event at their premises for Tuesday 26th February 2019

14th February 2019

FASN Quiz Night 

Feeling brainy? Come along to our quiz night on 14.02.19 and support FASN. Lots of prizes to be won. 

19th December 2018

FASN Volunteer Group Facilitator Opportunity 

The Family Addiction Support Network are seeking a: Volunteer Group Facilitator to facilitate weekly group meetings. 

10th December 2018

FASN Pop Up Shop

Location: Longwalk Shopping Center, Dundalk

16th November 2018

Annual Commemoration Service 2018

Location: Lios Dubh, Armagh Road, Dundalk, Co. Louth

Wednesday, 22nd August 2018

Fun Raising Fund Raising Auction

Location: Lios Dubh Centre, Armagh Road, Dundalk, A91 T668

Latest from the Blog

Read various helpful articles addiction support resources across the world:


Stages of addiction Stage One: Unknowing This describes when families are unable to recognize the existence of a drug problem in their homes, either ignoring early telltale signs or attributing them to signs of adolescence. Often by the time this stage is over the...


The process of addiction and the wheel of change It may be useful to examine the process of addiction and the stages that a person goes through when trying to make changes in their lives. When a person is using drugs they go through a number of stages. These stages...


What is the 5-Step Method? Key aspects and principles of the 5-Step Method This intervention is focused on affected and concerned family members - In contrast to other models used with family members in the addiction field, the 5-Step Method is clearly focused on the...

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