Drug Policy Australia Limited (DPA) was formed after informal meetings in early 2014 attended by experienced Alcohol and Other Drugs sector (AOD) professionals, who recognised that, as a result of the politicisation of drug policy, health policy was not always consistent with current scientific evidence and in some cases, actually caused harm to the community.

Those present felt that the promotion of evidence-based approaches to policy was essential – within a world where new psychoactive substances were created almost daily, where abuse of prescribed medication was increasing and existing legal drugs, like alcohol and over-the-counter medication, were being aggressively marketed.

The DPA was formed as an independent organisation in order to promote evidence-based drug policies, that would minimise the diseases and health risks associated with the use of all psychoactive substances; not just the illicit ones.

We are committed to ending the criminal persecution of drug users and discriminatory drug policies that alienate users and negatively affects their health and that of the larger community. 

Involved in these initial discussions were:

Dr John Sherman – an Addiction Specialist with 40 years clinical experience in treating heroin addicts and other problematic drug users;

Professor Nick Crofts – an epidemiologist and 30-year specialist in HIV/AIDS, illicit drugs, harm reduction and law enforcement and is currently Senior Research Fellow at the United Nations;

Tony Trimingham OAM – who received an Order of Australia for his establishment of the National Charity Family Drug Support;

Ray Thorpe – Philanthropist and supporter of many Drug Law Reform initiatives.

Greg Chipp – who has been involved in public policy development and advocacy for many years, including for the Australian Democrats (late 1970s – mid-2000s).

In 2014, the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia, (the AOD sector’s peak body), was disbanded on the direction of the Federal Government, and against the almost unanimous objection of the entire AOD sector. This was the catalyst for the formation of the Drug Policy Australia Limited.

Following these events, Drug Policy Australia Limited was incorporated in May 2014 as a company limited by guarantee, and is registered with the Australian Charities and Not For Profits Commission (ACNC) as an Australian charity. We were granted Deductible Gift Recipient status (Income Tax deductibility) by the Australian Tax Office.

Because of our advocacy role in influencing government policy we are independently financed by private funding and donations. 


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