The Prime Minister’s Award recognises individuals who have made a significant commitment and contribution to reducing the impact and negative effects of drug and alcohol use.
The winner in this category was Malcolm Smith. Malcolm is the Executive Director at Teen Challenge WA and has been helping the youth of Australia with alcohol and other drug issues for over 45 years. In 1985, Malcolm opened Teen Challenge WA and has spent the past 30 years dedicated to helping young people get back on their feet.
This award recognises programs, policies, and resources that make a significant contribution in preventing drug use and drug-related harm. Education plays a key role in preventing alcohol and other drug problems.
Turning Point was awarded Excellence in this category for their program, MAKINGtheLINK. MAKINGtheLINK is a unique school-based health promotion program that teaches adolescents how to identify mental health and substance use problems amongst their peers, and overcome barriers to accessing professional help.
The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre was awarded Innovation in this category for the Climate Schools program. The Climate Schools programs are innovative, online, universal school-based programs that aim to prevent the use of Australia’s most commonly used licit and illicit drugs – alcohol, cannabis and psychostimulants.
The Treatment and Support category recognises a program or service that has made a significant contribution to treatment and support efforts that have been designed to assist those Australians who have been impacted by alcohol and other drug use. Nominations in this category must be based on established scientific evidence, designed to address a current gap in knowledge and/or service delivery and had to go above and beyond business as usual.
We Help Ourselves was awarded Innovation in this category for their Residential Opioid Substitution Treatment service that treats the complex needs of people receiving opioid substitution therapies. We Help Ourselves provides a quality service that gives clients the opportunity to stabilise within a supportive environment and to begin recovery with individualised and streamlined community-based treatment programs.
The Reduction of Harm category recognises programs, policies and resources that have made a significant contribution to harm reduction efforts. Nominations within this category were judged on whether or not they were based on an identified need, included an appropriate level on communication and demonstrated a clear reduction of harm.
North Richmond Community Health was awarded Excellence in this category for their Alcohol and Other Drug Program which provides harm reduction services to people who inject drugs in Richmond, an area well known in Melbourne for public drug dealing and injecting. Services are provided to approximately 200 people per day. Throughout the past year North Richmond Community Health have attended 55 overdoses and have distributed an average 70,000 syringes per month to reduce the prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C which are higher than average among people who inject drugs in Victoria.
The Research category recognises the importance of research within the AOD sector and its relevance and benefit to the community as a whole. Nominations in this category must add practical value to alcohol and other drug practices, be of sound design and method, meet the ethical standards for research practice and be effectively disseminated.
The winner in this category was Dr Christina Marel and the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. Dr Christina Marel was instrumental in developing the 2016 National Comorbidity Guidelines to assist AOD workers who are frequently required to manage complex psychiatric symptoms.
The Media Reporting category recognises the important role the media plays in shaping and informing community knowledge and perceptions around alcohol and other drug issues. Nominations in this category were required to illustrate how the media article had informed and shaped community knowledge and perceptions of alcohol and drug issues.
Chloe Booker was awarded Excellence in this category for her articles published from 2014 to 2017. Her reporting brought attention to the increasing overdose rates, lack of public alcohol and other drug treatment options and the stigma associated with people suffering from alcohol and other drug related harms in Victoria. Chloe’s dedication to the truth is inspiring.
The First Australians Award recognises an individual or community as having made a significant and/or meaningful commitment and contribution to reducing the impact and negative effects of alcohol and other drug use in Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander communities.
Kristie Harrison from the University of Sydney was the recipient of the First Australians’ Award in 2017. Kristie is a Wiradjuri woman who has focused her talents and energies into supporting the Aboriginal community within the alcohol and other drug field. Kristie is a strong leader, with the ability to organise and motivate people to work towards the same goal.
The National Honour Roll is for individuals who have made a significant contribution, over a considerable time period, to the alcohol and other drug field. This is our opportunity to acknowledge and publicly recognise the exceptional work which done by people who work tirelessly in this sector.
Professor Steve Allsop joined the National Honour Roll in 2017 because of his 40-year contribution to the AOD sector and his commitment to preventing harm from alcohol and other drugs. His contribution has benefited researchers, service users, providers and policymakers across Australia.
Colleen Blum also joined the National Honour Roll in 2017. Colleen has worked within the health sector for nearly five decades and in 2004 she began working within the drug and alcohol sector. Colleen is passionate about caring for patients with alcohol and other drug problems and currently works at Damascus Health Services in Brisbane, a treatment facility for people who are addressing issues related to alcohol and other drugs.