We influence change in policy and systems

Supported by the latest evidence, we advocate for change in policy and practice within government, society and business. This includes reducing the misinformation and stigma about alcohol and other drugs.

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Shifting Australia’s alcohol culture

Australia has a long way to go to establish a healthy culture around alcohol consumption. Key to achieving this is educating parents on how to role model healthy behaviour, as well as enabling liquor licensing reforms that support healthier consumption in the community. We are working in both these areas together with sporting clubs through Good Sports to reduce alcohol harm.

Drugs and alcohol in sport

Sport is central to our culture, and alcohol is closely tied to this sporting identity. We advocate for change in policy and practice around alcohol advertising during sport, challenging many national sporting organisations’ acceptance of unhealthy sponsorship (particularly alcohol sponsorship). We’re working towards the sustainability of community sport, without depending on alcohol and fast food, and supporting the implementation of drug policies at a community sport level. We know performance enhancing drugs in sport is a persistent and growing issue, and we bring our evidence-based approach to this area.

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Pharmaceutical misuse

We know pharmaceutical drugs have a significant impact on the population – with annual deaths from pharmaceutical misuse outstripping those from road deaths or illicit drugs. We’re pushing for improvements in the way addictive drugs are distributed and monitored, along with increase funding and education around the provision of alternatives (where appropriate).


We have long known the drug prohibition does not eliminate harms, and we’re pushing for new approaches that are known to be effective. We support the principle of decriminalisation of the personal use of illicit drugs – treating drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal one. We encourage a greater focus on reintegrating drug users back into the community, and for greater access to treatment for those in need. We also support harm minimisation measures like drug consumption rooms, and pill testing at music festivals to reduce the risk of unnecessary deaths.

Prevention works

We know that primary prevention is the best way to prevent and minimise the harm caused by alcohol and other drugs. We support additional funding for primary prevention, including a focus on education for new parents around the impacts that alcohol and other drugs can have on young children.

We prioritise partnerships, collaboration and long-term impact to lift the ‘protective factors’ in our community, and reduce the number of people at risk of alcohol and other drug harm.

North Richmond MSIC

ADF commends Victorian Government on MSIC Trial

On 31 October 2017, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation commended the Victorian Government for its decision to approve a pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC).

“A pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in North Richmond will save lives and give clients access to treatment services that are critical in helping them in their recovery journey,” said John Rogerson, CEO of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.

With around 90 MSICs around the world, it’s indisputable that trialling one in North Richmond will reduce overdose deaths and provide clients access to much needed health and welfare services.

Read the ADF’s media release here.

Some recent history on this campaign

In February 2017, a coronial inquest was held into the death of a 34-year-old Victorian mother who overdosed in the toilet of a fast-food restaurant in North Richmond.

The inquest heard there were 172 heroin overdose deaths in Victoria last year – 34 of which died after buying heroin in the City of Yarra. Of those deaths, 19 were in the North Richmond area known as the “heroin rectangle”.

In handing down her findings, Coroner Jacqui Hawkins said a safe injecting facility in North Richmond was essential.

A medically supervised injection centre wouldn’t only save lives, it would:

  • free-up police to tackle other law and order issues
  • reduce the number of needles and syringes being left on the streets making the community safer
  • reduce the number of ambulance call-outs to overdoses allowing them to attend other emergency situations
  • reduce the number of incidents where members of the community are exposed to traumatic scenes of overdosing and people using drugs
  • refer highly vulnerable people to various health and welfare services.

In the past 30 years there have been more than 90 medically supervised injecting facilities set up across the globe, operating in 10 different countries – all of which are preventing deaths and creating pathways to treatment every day.

On the 7 September 2017 a parliamentary committee report looking into a pilot MSIC in North Richmond was tabled in the Victorian Parliament.

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Our Strategic Goals 2016 – 2020

Goal 1: Strong communities

Build community capacity at a local level to reduce alcohol and other drug harms.

Success measure: Measurable reduction in alcohol and other drug harms at a local level.

Goal 2: Increasing awareness

Increase public awareness and build understanding on the need for a prevention-led approach to minimising harm.

Success measure: Australians are more aware of how to prevent alcohol and other drug harms at an individual and community level.

Goal 3: Extending influence

Influence policy, regulation and funding decisions to prevent alcohol and other drug harms through a strategic advocacy agenda.

Success measure: We have a clear and bold policy agenda, are consulted by community leaders and policymakers and play an influential role in policy reforms and funding decisions.

Goal 4: Enabling impact

Create a purposeful, engaged, high-performing workforce to support the delivery of our strategy and sustainable impact of our programs and services.

Success measure: Our organisation is achieving goals 1, 2 and 3 (above) in an efficient way with an engaged and purposeful workforce.