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Save ADCA: A letter to the Prime Minister

Dear Mr. Abbott

I write to you as a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence and Outstanding Contribution in Drug and Alcohol Endeavours.  I am an Australian researcher who had a substantial career abroad before returning to take up an appointment in Australia eight years ago.

On the basis of my international experience, I would say that a strength of Australia’s response as a society to problems with alcohol and drugs has been the strong interplay and coordination between governments and those on the front line of the response, the clinicians and scientists who deal with drug and alcohol issues every day.

A crucial part of that connection is the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA), which has for several decades been the national peak body for the nongovernmental sector of clinical and service agencies in the field.  With support from the federal government, ADCA plays several important roles in the national effort to minimise alcohol and drug problems in Australia.

  • ADCA plays a key role in the strength of the Australian response which I have already noted.  It has been effective in bringing together the collective experience and knowledge of those working in the field, and making this available in policy consideration.
  • The National Drug Information Service which ADCA runs is an essential national resource centre for agencies and workers in the field who need up-to-date information on treatment and intervention modalities, evidence on their effectiveness, and access to the latest scientific journals and reviews in the field.
  • Through the annual Drug Awareness Week and other such programs, ADCA has also made a substantial contribution to raising public awareness of neglected aspects of drug problems and to encouraging citizen responses which will be effective in reducing the problems.

Therefore, I urge you to ask that the decision to cease providing funding to ADCA’s activities be re-examined. The high costs of alcohol and drug problems to Australian governments and communities need to be substantially reduced, and the relatively small cost of ADCA’s programs is a worthwhile investment in supporting those whose work is reducing those costs.



You can help Save ADCA by signing the petition to Prime Minister Tony Abbott here.

Robin Room

Robin Room is a sociologist who has directed alcohol and drug research centres in the US, Canada and Sweden, and now in Australia, his native country. He is a Professor of Population Health and Chair of Social Research in Alcohol at the University of Melbourne; and Director of the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research at the Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre. He has been an advisor for the World Health Organization since 1975, has been president of the international scientific society for social alcohol research, and is Editor-in Chief of Drug and Alcohol Review. Professor Room’s research is on social, cultural and epidemiological studies of alcohol, drugs and gambling behaviour and problems, and studies of social responses to alcohol and drug problems and of the effects of policy changes.

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