Past Events

Support. Don’t Punish 2021 Campaign - with Johann Hari

On June 26, as part of the global "Support. Don't Punish" campaign, Drug Policy Australia held a screening of 'The United States vs Billie Holiday' with a live introduction by Johann Hari, executive producer and author of the bestselling book, Chasing the Scream on which the movie is based. The movie is now available as an online rental.

Support Dont Punish withJohann Hari at the Astor

In his talk with Jenny Valentish before the film, Johann said,

"We can end this fucking drug war. It is hollow; it has been a catastrophe; it’s led to disastrous outcomes. For every person that joins the fight, more lives are saved, lives like Billie Holliday.”

Inside the Bloody War on Drugs 2019


Drug Policy Australia event Left to right: Laura Turner, Greg Barns, Fiona Patten, Antony Loewenstein, Tania de Jong, Mick Palmer and Jon Faine

Left to right: Laura Turner, Greg Barns, Fiona Patten, Antony Loewenstein, Tania de Jong, Mick Palmer and Jon Faine

Drug Policy Australia hosted international bestselling author Antony Loewenstein's book launch for Pills, Powder, and Smoke: Inside the Bloody War on Drugs. The event was held at the Melbourne Town Hall on 9th September 2019 with over 700 guests. Loewenstein was joined by ABC Radio talkback host Jon Faine and an expert panel of community leaders and public figures, for a roundtable discussion about the future of drug policy. Panellists included Fiona Patten, Mick Palmer, Laura Turner, Greg Barns and Antony Loewenstein. 

There was audience Q&A, signed book sales, information tables from Australia's leading AOD NGO's including the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, Odyssey House and many others. 

About the Book

The drug war is a multi-billion-dollar industry that won’t go down without a fight. Pills, Powder, and Smoke: Inside the Bloody War on Drugs, explains why.

Travelling through the UK, the US, Australia, South America, the Philippines, and Africa, Loewenstein uncovers the secrets of the drug war, why it’s so hard to end, and who is really profiting from it.

Drug Laws are Dangerous at Sydney Road Street Party

Drug Laws are Dangerous - Sydney Rd Street Party

Supported by KISS FM and Drug Policy Australia volunteers we continued our "The Drug Laws are Dangerous" campaign at the Sydney Road Street Party in early March 2020. The event just before for the COVID-19 lockdowns was attended by thousands of people of all ages. With free live music all day across six official street stages, it was the perfect occasion to promote safer drug use and pill testing saves lives.

Support Don’t Punish 2018 Street Campaign

Support Don't Punish Street Stall


The "Support. Don't Punish" Global Day of Action is an opportunity to change the narrative - rather than punishing people who use drugs, let's support them. Drug Policy Australia hosted the street campaign for Support Don’t Punish day in 2018 and 2019. 

The street campaign involved 20 volunteers wearing Support Don’t Punish t-shirts handing out flyers at 10 locations in the Melbourne CBD. Volunteers interacted with the public, handed out information and collected donations.

Support Don’t Punish 2019 Town Hall Meeting



On the 26th June 2018, Drug Policy Australia with 15 Supporting AOD organisations held the inaugural Melbourne Town Hall forum to celebrate 'Support. Don't Punish' day - a global initiative calling for drug policies that prioritise public health and human rights.

This forum brought together voices and experiences from the Alcohol and Other Drug sector working at the coalface in an awareness campaign for more humane and evidence-based drug policies.

The forum featured health professionals, politicians, journalists and community leaders, including Tony Trimingham OAM, CEO of Family Drug Support, Sam Biondo, Head of VAADA and Dr Stefan Gruenert, CEO of Odyssey HouseVictoria as well drug policy opinion leaders like state. 

Johann Hari Melbourne 2018


Greg and Johann 2018

Left to Right: Greg Chipp, Johann Hari

On September 20 2018, Drug Policy Australia held a public forum for New York Times best-selling author Johann Hari. Depression and addiction are on the rise in Australia, fed by stigma and silence. Criminalising drug use and medicating depression has not fixed the problem. Johann spoke about drugs, depression, stigma and addiction as shown in his book Chasing the Scream. 

Over 750 people attended the forum where Johann told the hidden story of the war on drug users and the real causes of depression and addiction. Ten AOD organisations supported Drug Policy Australia and Johann Hari on the night. Each organisation had the opportunity to host an information table and interact with the public. 

Johann Hari is a patron of Drug Policy Australia.

Rainbow Serpent Festival 2018


Greg at stall


Drug Policy Australia attends the four-day annual open air music and arts festival Rainbow Serpent. We had a stall at Rainbow Serpent festival last year selling pill testing kits as part of an awareness campaign to advocate for the full front of house pill testing. But until that becomes a reality, we sell pill testing kits to both create awareness and lead to better safety.

Attending the Rainbow Serpent festival, I'm reminded just how vulnerable people are without access to drug testing services. People who got the tests were very responsible and grateful to be able to test. We had some positive feedback from two groups who discarded their stash after getting negative results. One person reported they had DXM rather than LSD and decided not to risk it.

Health and Hemp Expo 2018


HHI Expo Stall Drug Policy Australia


The annual Hemp, Hemp Health & Innovation Expo, provides information and greater awareness around the crucial benefits the hemp and cannabis plant has already unlocked, and its sustainable solutions for the future. 

Drug Policy Australia had a stand at Australia’s largest Hemp & Cannabis Expo at Melbourne’s Convention and Exhibition Centre.

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