The secret support group: ‘Families are too ashamed to speak up about addiction’

So many people believe parents are somehow responsible for their children’s addictions. That’s why we get almost zero support

Every Tuesday night we gathered around a table in a stuffy room of a dilapidated community centre in suburban Sydney to tell the stories of our addicted children. Stories that often sounded like clichéd storylines from the plot B of police procedurals: of the 16-year-old scholarship girl prostituting herself to her dealer, the former captain of the school football team whose arms are bruised black with perforations, the daughter who begged for a five-minute cigarette break from her mental health unit in order to score from the ice dealer who hangs around the hospital gate.

Occasionally the 20 mothers, fathers and grandparents talked about the potential for a dramatic TV series based on their tales of sex, crime and drugs. But at other times the stories seem so tired and repetitive that any screen version would risk resembling a Latin American-style soap opera.

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