Who We Are

Celebrating more than 55 years of service to the community, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) is Australia’s leading organisation committed to preventing alcohol and other drug harms in our communities.

We were established in 1959 to support the many post-war veterans who were suffering from alcohol dependence as a release from the trauma of war. An empathetic and humane approach has always been central to our work.


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From modest beginnings, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation continues to evolve. Trauma continues to be a major factor for individuals and communities who find themselves facing the challenge of alcohol and other drug misuse. To help overcome this, we are increasing our focus on building safe, healthy, and resilient communities.

We know that strong communities are the best way to prevent future harms. Our ongoing work aligns with the Australian National Drug Strategy that declares “efforts to promote social inclusion and resilient individuals, families and communities” are a key objective within the demand reduction pillar.

We are proudly evidence-based and independent. We bring expert knowledge and research into the design and implementation of our programs. We reach millions of Australians in their communities through sporting clubs and workplaces, by supporting and informing drug and alcohol prevention programs, and through the provision of educational information.

Our Purpose

To prevent the harm caused by alcohol and other drugs in Australia.

Each year in Australia: 5,500 people die from alcohol related injuries, illness and accidents.

  • 157,000 people are hospitalised due to alcohol.
  • More people die from drug overdoses—including from pharmaceuticals—than die on the roads.
  • The cost to the community from alcohol-related harm is estimated to exceed $15.3 billion. For illegal drugs it exceeds $8.2 billion.

All of these are preventable.

Our mission

We work in partnership with government, corporates, the for-purpose sector and Australia’s diverse communities to create sustainable social change that supports health and well-being for all.

We are community centric

We support communities to build their capacity to create change and determine their own futures. We co-design our programs with the community, valuing their strengths and uniqueness. Our community development frameworks, along with our program and service delivery, are supported by the latest evidence.


We prioritise partnerships & collaboration

We build strong alliances that benefit communities, help deliver positive outcomes and strengthen our collective impact. We are generous with our knowledge and insight when dealing with our partners and communities.

Our approach is reflected in an organisational culture of collaboration and innovation.

We influence change in policy, systems and institutions

We constantly engage in dialogue, advocating for policy reforms that support the needs of communities.

Our communities, staff and key stakeholders are knowledge leaders with clear understanding of the critical issues.

Our Focus

Primary Prevention

The goal of primary prevention is to address the causes of alcohol and other drug problems to protect people from developing a problem in the first place.

We know a sense of disconnection, unemployment, abuse or trauma, poor mental health, or a feeling of having no clear future – combined with availability and peer use of drugs – are strong risk factors for harm due to alcohol and other drug use.

We also know that the development of recreational pursuits, positive relationships with parents, family members and other role models, being engaged in a school or community environment, and spiritual beliefs can all help to limit or minimise exposure to risky behaviour around alcohol and other drugs.

With this in mind, we work to build safe, healthy and resilient communities with low prevalence of these risk factors and high prevalence of protective factors.

Secondary Prevention

Secondary prevention promotes safety for those who already use alcohol and other drugs and is directed towards people who have a higher or specific risk of serious harms. For ADF this includes initiatives like pill testing at music festivals, or live monitoring of pharmaceutical drug prescriptions.

Tertiary prevention

The goal of tertiary prevention is to help people with an existing disease, disability or medical condition to overcome it, or to improve their quality of life. For ADF this might include referring drug users to treatment providers, advocating for drug consumption rooms to reduce the risks of use, or distribution of anti-overdose medications like naloxone.