Addiction is one of Australia’s most misunderstood health conditions. We want to change the conversation about addiction and tackle the stigma and misinformation that stops people getting the help they need.
WHO ARE WE?
We are an independent campaign representing a collaborative industry effort to Rethink Addiction, through evidence-based information and linkages to support.
WHY WE FORMED?
Rethink Addiction was formed to educate and advocate for the need to change Australia’s attitude and approach to addiction
WHAT WE KNOW
We know that addiction is misunderstood, and that stigma is damaging. We also understand that real change is possible but to achieve it we need to Rethink Addiction.
WHY WE USE THE WORD ADDICTION
The Rethink Addiction team recognises that many people find the term “addict” stigmatising. It reduces the identity of people who experience problems with alcohol, drugs or gambling to only their relationship with these substances and activities.
This reductive view is a key driver of the stigma that people face, particularly when accessing health care. Likewise, the term “addiction” can have the unintended effect of reducing a complex range of issues spanning society, medicine, families, and personal factors to an over-simplified and potentially harmful label.
Rethink Addiction does not use the word “Addict” in any of its campaign activities. However, we do use the word “Addiction” in our title because we know that it is how society refers to these issues and if we want to genuinely address issues of stigma and discrimination we need to reach and engage as many people as possible, from all walks of life.
We respectfully acknowledge that part of “Rethinking Addiction” is addressing how we label and discuss these issues. We welcome the evolution of our language to become inclusive and genuinely reflective of the people and the issues that we represent.
Rethink Addiction is a coalition of organisations advocating for a change to Australia’s attitude and response to addiction. We are a truly collaborative campaign that is strengthened by the collective knowledge of all our supporters.
Alcohol and Drug Foundation
"The vision of the ADF is that no life is limited by alcohol and other drugs. Our Information Services provides the facts and busts the myths, making credible, accurate information accessible so that we can all work to change knowledge, attitudes and reduce the stigma around alcohol and drugs. We work to inspire positive change and deliver evidence-based approaches into communities to minimise alcohol and drug harm. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
Dr Erin Lalor
Chief Executive Officer
Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council Tasmania
"The Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council Tasmania is the peak body representing and supporting community organisations, and the people they assist, to reduce alcohol, tobacco and other drug related harm for all Tasmanians. Our vision is a Tasmania without alcohol, tobacco or other drug related harm or discrimination. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.”
Chief Executive Officer
Alliance for Gambling Reform
“The Alliance for Gambling Reform is a national advocacy organisation bringing together over 60 organisations with a shared objective to prevent the harm caused by gambling and have the problem treated as a public health issue. We know that stigma prevents people from seeking support and we want that to end. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.”
Rev. Tim Costello
"Ambulance Victoria is a modern ambulance service that prides itself on giving our patients the right care at the right place at the right time. As the largest health care provider in the state, we see firsthand the challenges that accompany alcohol and drug dependencies. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
Association of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies Northern Territory
"The Association of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies Northern Territory is the peak body for Alcohol and Other Drugs treatment services in the Northern Territory. Our mission is to build and maintain a strong, sustainable and culturally diverse alcohol and other drug sector that works together to reduce alcohol and drug-related related harm across the Northern Territory. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.”
The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM)
“The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) is the peak body for emergency medicine and has a vital interest in ensuring the highest standards of emergency medical care. Emergency departments are at the forefront of responding to the direct and indirect health consequences of drug use and related harm. ACEM supports harm minimisation approaches that recognise the socioeconomic and cultural context of drug use, rather than approaches that stigmatise and blame individuals. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.”
Dr John Bonning
The Australasian Injury Prevention Network
"The Australasian Injury Prevention Network is the peak body advocating for injury prevention and safety promotion in Australia and New Zealand. The AIPN's view is that the Australian public has a right to exist in a healthy and safe community which may be built by minimising alcohol, tobacco and other drug-related health, social and economic harms. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
Dr Ben Beck
The Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol & other Drugs
"The Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol & other Drugs is the Asia Pacific's leading multidisciplinary organisation for professionals involved in the alcohol and other drug field. APSAD is dedicated to increasing the profile of the issues related to the use of alcohol and other drugs, through the dissemination of information from the wide range of professions involved in this field. The Society is committed to promoting evidence-based improvements in the treatment and prevention of drug and alcohol-related problems and raising awareness. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
Professor Michael Farrell
The Australian Alcohol and other Drugs Council (AADC)
"The Australian Alcohol and other Drugs Council (AADC) is the national peak body representing the alcohol and other drugs sector. We support the health and wellbeing of people who use or have used alcohol and other drugs, their families and communities, through evidence-informed prevention, treatment and harm reduction. That’s why we’ve joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
Australian Medical Association
"The Australian Medical Association is the peak professional body for doctors in Australia, promoting healthcare needs of patients and communities, representing doctors and working with governments to develop and influence health policy. The AMA believes that substance dependence and behavioural addictions are serious health conditions and that those who are impacted should be treated like other patients with serious illness, and be offered the best available treatments and supports to recovery. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.”
Dr Omar Khorshid
Australian Nurses and Midwifery Federation, Victoria Branch
"The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) has a membership of more than 92,000 members — nurses, midwives and personal care workers — employed in a range of health services including hospitals, community health, drug and alcohol, mental health, aged care and prisons. Our members know addiction destroys lives. They also know compassion and respect can lead to life-changing conversations and connect people to healthcare and support perhaps for the first time. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
Ballarat Community Health
"Ballarat Community Health exists to ensure that people from all walks of life can access quality health care, no matter their circumstances. We provide a range of services including support and therapeutic treatment for individuals who are living with addiction, as well as their family members and significant others. Our vision is that all people within the communities can access support and achieve the best possible health and wellbeing. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
The Buttery is dedicated to assisting teenagers and adults who may have mental health, substance use and/or gambling issues. We help people across the NSW Mid and Far North Coast Regions by providing prevention, treatment and aftercare through a continuum of care. We support drug law reform and consider a treatment approach is preferable to a punitive approach. We support
increasing treatment options and hold the view that the stigma associated with people affected by substance use is a barrier to lasting recovery. That’s why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.”
"The Deakin University Centre for Drug use, Addictive and Anti-social behaviour Research (CEDAAR) conducts research into the psychological, biological, socio-political, and clinical aspects of Alcohol and other Drug use, other addictive behaviours, and consequent harm. Research into addiction has expanded greatly in the past 20 years and we know a lot more than we did, but there is still so much misinformation out there. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
Professor Peter Miller
Director – CEDAAR
Directions Health Services
"Directions Health Services is a not for profit specialist alcohol and other drug agency that provides a comprehensive range of free, integrated services for individuals and families/friends impacted by alcohol, tobacco and other drug issues in the ACT and NSW. We advocate for a health first approach and decriminalisation of personal drug possession and use as well as other evidence based harm reduction strategies that will improve health and well-being outcomes for individuals and their families.That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
"Drug Policy Australia is a charity advocating to manage addiction as a health issue, rather than a criminal problem. We know that addiction is a complex problem and one without a simple answer. But understanding addiction is essential to developing effective policies that help people with this all too human health condition. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.”
The Drug and Alcohol Nurses of Australasia (DANA)
"The Drug and Alcohol Nurses of Australasia (DANA) is the peak nursing organisation in Australasia for Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug (ATOD) issues. We are committed to improving ATOD care practices and are actively involved in research into ATOD related interventions. Nurses are often at the coalface of addiction treatment, providing care to those living with dependency issues, and we know that addiction is a complex problem. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
Dr Adam Searby
"Eastern Health is one of Melbourne’s largest metropolitan public health services delivering clinical services to more than 750,000 people across over 50 facilities. We provide a range of services including mental health, community health and drug and alcohol treatment. Our mission is to care, learn, discover and innovate together. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.”
Adjunct Professor David Plunkett
"Families Australia is a national, not-for-profit, peak organisation that strives to improve the wellbeing of Australian families, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised. Our vision is to see Australian families, in all their diversity, enjoy the greatest possible wellbeing. In the alcohol and other drug space that begins with addressing the stigma, isolation and misinformation which stops people from seeking help.That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
Dr Brian Babington
“The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) is a not-for-profit organisation working towards an Australia that is free from alcohol harm. We approach this through community engagement, public education and advocacy, that are informed by research. Too many Australians are negatively impacted by alcohol. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
"First Step is a not-for-profit addiction, mental health and legal services hub in St Kilda, Melbourne. First Step clients have access to GPs, addiction medicine specialists, addiction psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health nurses, care coordinators, psychosocial workers, drug and alcohol counsellors and an inbuilt community legal centre. At First Step we believe that everybody deserves every chance to turn their lives around that survivors of childhood trauma should get access to all the support they want and need from one team in one place, and for free. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Health
“The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health is one of the largest and highly respected brain research centres in the world. Our team of addiction neuroscientists investigate how drugs, including alcohol, change the brain's structure, chemistry and function, and are leading a world-first clinical trial in Alcohol Use Disorder. We believe addiction is treatable and proudly support organisations that help improve access to treatment. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
Professor Andrew Lawrence
Head of Addiction and Mental Health Research
Goulburn Valley Health
“Goulburn Valley Health is the main referral health service for regional Victoria in the West Hume area. Our service partners with The Salvation Army and Odyssey House Victoria to provide the Goulburn Valley Alcohol and Drug Service. We pride ourselves on delivering patient-centred care and offer a free alcohol and drug treatment to adults including counselling, care and recovery and day rehabilitation. But we know that so much more can be done to address addiction – especially in regional and remote areas. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
Health and Community Services Union
"HACSU is the only specialist union for the disability and mental health sectors in Victoria with connection to drug and alcohol services. HACSU believes that through proper remuneration and conditions for staff, the mental health, disability sectors, and drug and alcohol services will attract and retain the best possible workers and provide the best quality services. We know that each year between 200,000 and 500,000 people are unable to receive treatment for addiction. There is no other health condition where we turn half of our patients away. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.”
Hello Sunday Morning
“Sunday Morning aims to change the world’s relationship with alcohol by providing people with the tools and support they need, at the moment they need them. Our focus is on refining and scaling our alcohol behaviour-change app Daybreak which has been used by over 50,000 Australians. We are a pioneering organisation that ambitiously innovates, helping good ideas become a reality, and that is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.”
Lives Lived Well
"Lives Lived Well provides support for people in Queensland and New South Wales communities who are being impacted by alcohol or drugs or problems with mental health. We aim to take a holistic, compassionate and harm minimisation approach to help people live their lives well. We believe that people can change, barriers can be overcome, stigmas can be overturned, and lives can be transformed. And that any day is a good day to tackle addiction. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.”
"The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use is a multidisciplinary research centre committed to improving the health and wellbeing of people affected by co-occurring substance use and mental disorders. We are committed to bringing together people with a shared commitment to the prevention, early intervention and treatment of mental and substance use disorders. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.”
Professor Maree Teesson
"Monash University is delighted to partner with Rethink Addiction on this very important initiative to help change the way people see addiction. We know that addiction affects many people within our society. Through the Monash Addiction Research Centre, our world-leading researchers are working to find solutions to overcome the challenges of addiction through evidence-based approaches that reduce the impact on the community. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.”
Professor David Copolov AO
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre
"The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at UNSW Sydney is a premier research institution in Sydney, Australia and is recognised internationally as a Research Centre of Excellence. We are committed to improving our understanding of the nature and extent of alcohol and drug-related harms and increasing our knowledge on the range and effectiveness of treatments and other interventions. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
Professor Michael Farrell
Odyssey House Victoria
“Odyssey House Victoria has helped more than 65,000 people on their recovery journey, out of addiction. Each story of success gives people hope that change is possible. However, stigma and the lack of sufficient treatment places across Australia continue to stop people seeking help. That’s why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.”
Dr. Stefan Gruenert
"Penington Institute connects lived experience and research to improve community safety in relation to drugs. It is too easy to judge people who use drugs and we think it’s far more productive to prevent and tackle drug use in a safe, effective and practical way. We focus on promoting effective strategies, frontline workforce education and public awareness activities. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
"Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is Australia’s peak body representing all 34,000 pharmacists working in all sectors, across all locations. Rethinking addiction starts with an understanding that addiction is a chronic health condition; like other chronic health conditions, a person who is seeking treatment needs a health workforce who understands the nature of addiction, and does not allow stigma to stand in the way of best health outcomes. Pharmacists are one of the most accessible health professionals in Australia. This is why we have joined to campaign to Rethink Addiction."
Associate Professor Chris Freeman
“Realdrugtalk was born out of my lived experience with addiction and the hurtful stigma around living with dependency problems. Fear and shame kept me from speaking out about my addiction and making the critical first step to seek support. Our goal is to change the perceptions around addiction so that the stigma can be eliminated allowing people to gain hope and seek help without fear of judgement and consequence. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.”
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
"The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) trains, educates and advocates on behalf of over 18,000 physicians and 8,500 trainee physicians across 33 medical specialties in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. Beyond the drive for medical excellence, the RACP is committed to developing health and social policies which bring vital improvements to the wellbeing of patients.
Our Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine (AChAM) connects and represents addiction medicine Fellows and trainees who specialise in caring for people with substance use and addiction disorders. Addiction medicine plays an important role in shaping public policy in the areas of health protection, prevention and health promotion for improved public and population health outcomes. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
Professor John Wilson AM
Professor Nicholas Lintzeris
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP)
"The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ (RANZCP) vision is to improve the mental health of communities through high quality psychiatric care, education, leadership and advocacy. With this, we strive to improve the mental health of communities by working with others to support the provision of high-quality care to people experiencing mental illness, their families and carers. We know that there can be a close link between mental health and addiction, and that is why we support the Rethink Addiction campaign."
Associate Professor John Allan
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
The RACGP's mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of all people in Australia by supporting our members through education, training and research. We represent more than 40,000 members working in or towards a career in general practice, many of whom have first-hand experience with people affected by substance dependency problems. We know that more can be done to educate the public and provide ongoing treatment for those in need. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
Dr Karen Price
Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC)
"Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC) promotes self-help approaches to recovery from severe alcohol and drug related issues. We envision a world where all people affected by the impact of addiction can proudly and openly seek help, help each other and demonstrate the living proof that recovery is possible. We know that shame and stigma are significant barriers for individuals and families to starting their recovery journey. This is why we support efforts such as the Rethink Addiction campaign."
Chief Executive Officer
Sir David Martin Foundation
“Sir David Martin Foundation is a 30-year old family foundation, helping young people in crisis. The Foundation is the major funder of Mission Australia’s Triple Care Farm, a unique, holistic treatment centre, which each year gives over 200 vulnerable young Australians (aged 16-24), a safe place to get well and prepare for new opportunities.Through philanthropy, we enable best practice models of treatment for youth drug and alcohol addiction, and that is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.”
SMART (Self Management and Recovery Training)
"SMART (Self Management and Recovery Training) is a mutual aid program that enables participants to understand and change the behaviours of concern to them. Guided by trained peers and professionals, participants come together to help themselves and each other with dignity, respect, compassion and non-judgement. SMART recognises drug use can become a major health issue and that stigma, shame and discrimination are all barriers to seeking help. We can do so much better. That is why we've joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.”
Sober in the
"Sober in the Country is a grassroots charity leading social impact across Australia by making it #OK2SAYNO to beers in the bush and catching our mates before they fall through the cracks and hurdles of overcoming addiction in isolation. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
"Star Health is a Community Health agency that provides a range of Health Services including Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) treatment. Our AOD program operates on the principles of harm reduction and acknowledge there are multiple intersectional complexities that impact on individuals and contribute to addiction. Our commitment is to provide an inclusive environment where individuals feel safe, are respected and accepted. We believe that people who use substances are valued members of the community and we want to contribute to destigmatising addiction. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
"TaskForce Community Agency provides wraparound support and compassionate care to thousands of marginalised young people, adults and their families across South Eastern Melbourne and beyond. Since 1973, TaskForce has delivered client-centred alcohol and other drug treatment services to those in need, offering counselling, outreach, education programs and more. We understand the difficulties and stigma our clients face every day, which is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
"Turning Point seeks to transform the way society provides treatment, specialist care and support for those affected by addiction. As a frontline service, we see the impact that addiction has on Australians, their families and the community every day, and understand what is possible when we treat addiction like any other health condition. We know that Australia needs to change its attitude and approach to addiction, and that is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
Professor Dan Lubman
Executive Clinical Director
"Uniting’s purpose is to inspire people, enliven communities and confront injustice. We believe in embracing everyone without judgement and empowering people to be all they want to be. That is why we are campaigning for better laws around drug use, more treatment for drug dependence and why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
Dr Marianne Jauncey
Medical Director, Uniting’s MSIC
Untoxicated exists to normalise a sober and sober curious life and to help make it social, positive and with meaningful and supportive connection to like-minded others. And in doing so, to reduce the stigma many Australians experience because of either their sobriety or their problematic drinking. We aim to build the capacity of individuals to maintain their sobriety or to reduce their alcohol intake through a combination of peer support, social activities, education, advocacy and linkage to relevant information/referrals/resources. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.
Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association
"The Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association is a peak organisation, which aims to reduce the harms associated with alcohol and other drug use within the Victorian community. Our mission is to provide leadership, representation, advocacy and information to the alcohol and other drug and related sectors. We believe in maintaining the dignity of those who use alcohol and other drug services and we support collaboration across the alcohol and other drug sector. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."
“Every person is able to change, grow and rebuild their lives if they choose. Since 1984, Windana has helped thousands of people take their lives in a new direction to lead healthy, productive and happy lives. We know treatment tailored to a person’s unique situation profoundly changes lives. However, societal barriers, stigma, and crucially, limited access to services often stands in people’s way. We want to change this, and that is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction.”
“As Australia’s largest provider of youth-specific drug and alcohol services, the team at YSAS have over two decades of experience helping young people overcome addiction and lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Addiction remains widely misunderstood and often unfairly portrayed. It can affect anyone. It’s not a life sentence. And it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. We need to challenge the negative stereotypes and misinformation about addiction. That is why we have joined the campaign to Rethink Addiction."