Tue, 31/10/2006

On October 16 Bishop Pat Power read the names of 170 Canberrans who had lost their lives due to illicit drug use.

Bishop Power was speaking at the 11th Annual Remembrance Ceremony organised by Family and Friends for Drug Law Reform at the memorial in Weston Park.

As if any proof were ever needed as to the totally indiscriminate way that this tragedy strikes, Bishop Power also told those present that a brother priest had recently performed the burial ceremony for a member of his own family who had died from illicit drug use.

Also speaking at the ceremony was Tony Trillingham the CEO of Family Drug Support. Tony lost his 23 year old son Damien 10 years ago.

Tony said that since he started FDS he has travelled the world, meet many dedicated people and even received awards for his work but would give it all up to be able to spend just 10 minutes with Damien.

A son who for Tony will ever be 23 but a son he will never see develop to his full potential, a son who will never have children, a son who for him is now only a memory.

Speaking about Remembrance Day in the Assembly Mary Porter said "For decades now successive governments of all political persuasions have spent millions of dollars seeking to prevent illicit drugs from being brought into the country. We seem to believe that the answer is to stop their importation and the problem will then somehow magically be solved, but there is no magic bullet solution."

" This is a health problem and needs to be treated as such. We have an obligation to be visionary and to seek new and better ways of reducing the harm and destruction that is being wrought on those affected and those who love and care for them" Mary said.

Read the full text of the speech.