This is the story of families in Ireland in 2020. How the power of the ordinary person mobilises communities and affects change by implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Family Addiction Support Network grew from a need within the community that wasn’t being met for family members that was affected by  loved one’s addictive behaviour.  In the North East of Ireland, families with a loved one addicted to drugs/alcohol did not have resources available to help them understand the impact of addiction or to help them improve their current living situation and coping skills.

Bricolage (French for DIY) Entrepreneurship is what families affected by addiction created in response to lack of services, resources, creativity and innovation around substance misuse.

Today, the Family Addiction Support Network  (FASN) is led and run by volunteers in line with Best Practice.  They support families affected by substance misuse and believe that no one should have to live with the isolation, fear and stigma that drug misuse can bring. The Family Addiction Support Network truly believe that supporting families to have their needs met, they are then able to change the outcomes for themselves.

FASN represents the voice of families impacted by addiction, influencing policies at local, regional and national levels through presentations, research, submissions and representation on various bodies. They have researched and documented the needs of families in the North East and created awareness of stigma in communities and services through development of a groundswell of support for decriminalisation of drugs and a health led approach to addiction.

This has all led to the development of a unique and recognised credible organisation in the North East supporting the needs of families affected by addiction using the narrative of families valued as ‘experts by experience’. The voice of families helped influence the Regional & National Policy makers to reflect needs of families as service users in their own right. Through the Spark Change Challenge, FASN shone a light on volunteerism and implementation of the UN – Sustainable Development Goals and won the national “Includer Award” for their work in promoting health and wellbeing for all at all ages. Through interagency partnerships, FASN now provides an educational resource for other service providers into the impact of addiction on family members and their needs to make a successful recovery, thus supporting the overall wellbeing of the greater community.

The Family Addiction Support Network has no core funding to ensure that services will be available for future generations to come and all their fundraising activities have been cancelled in line with the Covid19 Government Guidelines.

While we wait for our Government to determine the fate of families and communities across Ireland living with the fallout of substance misuse we are delighted to say that yet again……  Communities are Doing it for Themselves!

The Family Addiction Support Network would like to say a massive THANK YOU to each and every one of you within our communities for your practical help, financial donations, labours of love and partnership support.   We couldn’t do it without you!

Drugs are not going to go away and it makes sense to put measures in that will help protect and nurture health and wellbeing. YOUR support has enabled FASN to continue delivering much needed services in our community.

The Family Support Network would like to sincerely thanks the following individuals & organsiations: 

Kevin Boyle & his grandson/apprentice Paudie donated their time and skill in converting the bathroom light to a sensor light as part of FASN Covid Response Plan in keeping our visitors safe. Thank you Kevin & Paudie!