The time for action is fast approaching. In under two months’ time, we will present the case for change to decision makers at Parliament House.
This September 12–14, the inaugural Rethink Addiction National Convention will call for a national coordinated response to alcohol, other drugs and gambling harm, and the urgent need to end the stigma that prevents people across Australia from accessing the help they rightfully deserve.
Origins of Rethink Addiction
In 2020, the SBS documentary series Addicted Australia told the stories of ten resilient and courageous Australians seeking treatment. The program underscored the impact that stigma plays in impeding help-seeking, while also reaffirming that treatment works and should be readily accessible across Australia, similar to any other health condition.
As one of the world's most misunderstood health issues, it was validating to see the real stories of people impacted by addiction featured, with fidelity to their and their family’s lived experience.
The overwhelming positive support to the series highlighted the community’s appetite to rethink our current response to addiction in this country — no longer could we let the broad groundswell of support for change be neglected.
We needed a coordinated national campaign to advocate for change, highlighting the reality that alcohol, other drugs and gambling harm touches us all. And so, Rethink Addiction was born.
Our diverse coalition
In 2020, when we launched Rethink Addiction, we brought together a community seeking systemic change to the way we think about and respond to addiction in Australia. In the intervening months, we’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response to our campaign from a diverse coalition of supporters.
Today, we’re delighted to announce that we’ve partnered with more than 60 organisations across the country to bring our national campaign to life. To our partners, we hope you will join us in Canberra in September to ensure your voices are heard.
At the centre of our campaign are the stories of people with lived and living experience — the most powerful evidence of the need for the change that we are seeking.
Recently, we’ve been collaborating with a community of people with lived experience on a project to authentically share their stories throughout the country. We’ll reveal more next month, but rest assured, we’ll be affirming the message that there’s more to a person’s story than addiction.
Your support at the National Convention
We want to reimagine how we talk about, and in turn, respond to alcohol, other drugs and gambling harm in this country. Our vision is that people throughout Australia can access timely, compassionate and evidence-based care whenever and wherever they need.
For too long, the communities living and working at the frontline have been siloed or silenced in their efforts to affect change.
That’s why we want you all to attend the Rethink Addiction National Convention.
For clinicians, we recognise that each day you are at the coalface, seeing first hand the impact that stigma and a poorly funded and coordinated health response has on people’s lives.
For researchers, we know that your work can improve the effectiveness and quality of prevention, harm reduction and treatment options if supported to be adopted into policy and practice.
For policymakers, real change is possible, but to achieve it, we need your assistance to move the dial on policies that can reduce harm and improve access to quality care.
And most importantly, to the people with lived experience of addiction, telling the real stories is key to ending the stigma.
We must come together at the National Convention, as broad a constituency that we are, to share our collective stories and to call for access to timely, evidence-based prevention and support, devoid of stigma.
One in four Australians will experience an alcohol, other drug or gambling problem in their lifetime. That’s more than six million people across the country, and that does not include the many friends and family members that are also impacted. Together, we can be a powerful force advancing change.
Of course, if you can’t attend the National Convention in person, you can still make your voice heard by joining our online community.
We plan to bring the real stories of lived experience to our National Convention, to help reshape the conversation, so share your story with us today. Sign our petition calling for a national plan to address addiction in Australia or amplify our efforts on social media.
Together, we can help enact a national response. This spring, we can change the conversation, and the lived and living reality, of addiction in Australia.
We can’t wait for you to join us.
Professor Dan Lubman AM, Spokesperson for Rethink Addiction