Drug User Advocacy: Reflections and Prospects


Annie will reflect on over two decades of experience representing people who inject drugs (PWID), at the state and national levels in Australia, and globally through the International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD). She will discuss her personal and professional experience of representing such a highly stigmatised group, and consider how the roles of drug user advocates and drug user organisations have changed in that time. Some thoughts will be offered on the future of drug user representation in the context of the new treatment regimens for hepatitis C, and ask whether they might usher in a new and more sophisticated level of dialogue about the profound impact of stigma, discrimination and criminalisation on PWID or, whether these issues will be overlooked as focus shifts towards the ‘power of pills’ to ‘fix the hep C problem’?

Annie Madden is currently a principal of “2SqPegs” Consulting and works with the Centre for Social Research in Health (CSRH) at UNSW as a Community Engagement & Liaison Officer. She was the Executive Officer of the Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) for the past 16 years and prior to that, the CEO of the NSW Users & AIDS Association (NUAA). Annie has worked in the areas of drug user representation, harm reduction, BBVs and illicit drugs for over 25 years and is on the Prime Minister’s Honour Roll for longstanding service to the AOD sector.

Who:    Annie Madden, Consultant; CSRH Community Engagement and Liaison Officer

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