Leading South West charity Developing Health & Independence (DHI) is hosting its 16th annual Reach Out conference – a free event for those affected by the drug or alcohol use of a loved one, in Keynsham today.

It is estimated that for every person struggling with drug and alcohol misuse there are at least five other people around them who are affected. Many people dealing with a loved one who uses substances are isolated and unsupported because of the societal stigma around the use of drugs. Challenging the stigma speakers at Reach Out will share their experiences of living with a loved one who uses substances. 

The DHI conference offers a safe and welcoming space for people to meet and hear from others who are going through similar situations.

Avon and Somerset’s Chief Inspector Ronnie Lungo, who works with DHI in the community,  also joins a panel to discuss harm reduction and the lifesaving properties of the emergency medicine naloxone – which if administered to someone who has overdosed on opioids will buy them critical time to get treatment. Avon and Somerset recently partnered with DHI to roll-out naloxone training to its officers on the beat.

Reach Out takes place at Somerdale Pavilion, Tiberius Road, Keynsham, today (Thursday, 15th June) from 1:30-4:30pm.

To find out more and register for Reach Out visit.

Rosie Phillips, Chief Executive of DHI, said: “‘Problems with drugs and alcohol affect many people, no matter what their background, job, family situation, or income is. Inexplicably there is still significant stigma attached to the families and carers of those who misuse drugs or alcohol, and many suffer anxiety, depression and poor health because of the stresses and strains in their lives. Too often they suffer in silence. We need to challenge these stereo types and provoke people to think differently”

A family member who got support from DHI said ‘DHI and the FAM Service has helped my wife and I to understand and learn about addiction and gain the skills needed to cope with the day-to-day crisis of the impact that entails. Taking the spotlight off them, turning it back on us, helped us to focus on our needs. Thus, enabling us to support and nurture ourselves and our boys, better.’

Ronnie Lungu, Chief Inspector for Bath and North East Somerset, Avon and Somerset Police, said: “We are wholly committed to working with all our partner agencies and organisations, to reduce the harm caused by illegal drugs in our communities. Encouraging families and carers of loved ones who use substances to talk openly about issues faced and be supported by practical advice is invaluable.’’