Our purpose, mission, and focus

Our Purpose

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

Each year in Australia: 4,186 people die from alcohol related injuries, illness and accidents.

  • 144,000 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 others to support and create evidence-based policies and practice that prevent and minimise the harm caused by alcohol and other drugs.

We are community-centric.

We co-design our evidence-based programs with communities and support them to build capacity to create change.


We prioritise partnerships, collaboration and long-term impact

We build strong alliances that help deliver positive outcomes and strengthen our collective impact.

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

We influence change in policy, systems and institutions

Supported by the latest evidence, we advocate for change in policy and practice within government, society and business.

We work to reduce the misinformation and stigma about alcohol and other drugs.

Our Focus

Primary Prevention

The goal of primary prevention is to address the causes of alcohol and other drug use to protect people from developing a dependency 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.