Alcohol & Drugs

Many sexuality and gender diverse people use alcohol and other drugs (AOD) and most do so in a way that does not cause harm, however some in our communities do experience harms and may benefit from accessing specific information and support.

ACON runs several programs related to alcohol and other drugs. These programs span: harm reduction services, like the needle syringe program and the ACON Rovers; tailored resources and information for sexuality and gender diverse communities hosted on our AOD website Pivot Point; and a substance support counselling service.

We also conduct sector capacity building initiatives, aimed at upskilling the AOD sector in the provision of services that are inclusive and safe for sexuality and gender diverse communities.

We’re committed to developing nuanced understandings around AOD use among our communities and we actively participate in research projects and partnerships seeking to develop an evidence base to inform practice.

Further information about ACON’s AOD programs is listed on this page.

Information

Pivot Point: Alcohol and Other Drugs Online Resource

Funded by Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network, Pivot Point is a one-stop-shop for sexuality and gender diverse people who are looking for support in relation to their AOD use, which may be becoming difficult to manage and starting to negatively impact on their lives.

As well as information on AOD and helpful strategies on quitting or reducing use, Pivot Point features an online self-assessment tool allowing visitors to gauge the risks from their AOD use, directories for resources, and services that offer assistance to those seeking support. Pivot Point also has a blog featuring personal stories from community members, harm reduction tips, and helpful information for our communities related to news and current events in the AOD arena.

Visit Pivot Point for AOD related information, resources and support.

Latest articles:

COVID-19 Social Distancing & Drug Use: Will’s Story
(8 April 2020): Will is a gay man who is 35 years old – he identifies as a person who injects drugs.  Pivot Point spoke to Will about drug use in the time of COVID-19 – about how he’s managing lifestyle changes at the moment, including changes to how he usually socialises and uses drugs.

COVID-19 Restrictions: An opportunity for change
(8 April 2020): In these forced pub shutdowns, there exists an opportunity for members of our communities to explore resetting their relationship with alcohol. New environments can be very conducive to changing and sustaining new habits.

Alcohol and Other Drugs Inclusive Practice Guidelines

Sexuality and gender diverse communities can face a range of specific challenges accessing safe inclusive professional support around substance use.

In collaboration with the Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies (NADA) and Central Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network, ACON has developed AOD LGBTQ Inclusive Practice Guidelines For Treatment Providers, this resource is available on Pivot Point. The aim of the resource is to assist AOD services be accessible, culturally informed and inclusive.

Click here to download the ‘AOD LGBTIQ Inclusive Guidelines For Treatment Providers’ guide.

Services

Needle and Syringe Program

NSP

Through our Needle & Syringe Program (NSP), we provide FREE sterile injecting equipment and health promotion services to people who inject drugs. This helps reduce the transmission of blood borne viruses such HIV and hep C and other injecting-related risks.

Our NSPs provide the following:

  • FREE sterile injecting equipment
  • Disposal of used equipment
  • Access to advice, support and relevant health information (e.g. HIV, hep C, safer practices)
  • Referral to internal and external services
  • Access to condoms.

Our NSPs are located at our offices in SydneyNewcastle and Lismore.

Coronavirus update: 

Due to the COVID-19 situation, ACON opening hours have been temporarily reduced. Current operating hours are:

  • ACON Sydney (414 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills): Monday – Friday, 10am – 5pm
  • ACON Hunter (129 Maitland Road, Islington): Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays | 10am – 2pm
  • ACON Northern Rivers (Suite 4P Conway Court, 17 Conway Street, Lismore): Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays | 10am – 2pm

Substance Support Counselling

support

We provide confidential FREE short-term counselling (up to 12 sessions) for sexuality and gender diverse people and people with HIV seeking support in relation to their use of alcohol and other drugs.

Our counsellors work from a harm reduction approach to assist clients reach their goals to manage use, reduce or quit.

This service is offered in Sydney. Outside of Sydney, this service is available face to face in Lismore and Newcastle, and by phone or video conference anywhere in regional NSW.

To access this service, you will need to undergo a brief assessment in person or over the phone.

For more information or to undertake a brief assessment please contact our Sydney office or submit an enquiry.

Coronavirus update: Due to social distancing requirements, all ACON counselling and support services will be conducted virtually or over the phone.

Substance Support Counselling Regional NSW

support

We provide confidential FREE short-term counselling (up to 12 sessions) for sexuality and gender diverse people and people with HIV seeking support in relation to their use of alcohol and other drugs.

Our counsellors work from a harm reduction approach to assist clients reach their goals to manage use, reduce or quit.

This service is available face to face in Lismore and Newcastle and by phone or Skype anywhere in regional NSW.

To access this service, you will need to undergo a brief assessment in person or over the phone.

For more information or to undertake a brief assessment please contact our contact our Northern Rivers Office 1800 633 637 or Hunter Office 1800 063 060 or submit an enquiry.

Coronavirus update: Due to social distancing requirements, all ACON counselling and support services will be conducted virtually or over the phone.

Fair Play

FairPlay

Fair Play is a community initiative to help partygoers understand their legal rights and how to keep safe during the Mardi Gras Festival. It’s a partnership project by the Inner City Legal Centre, Mardi Gras and ACON to provide accurate legal resources and education to sexuality and gender diverse communities.

Fair Play is committed to respecting human rights through the principles of harm reduction and is interested in your safety, along with providing you with as much information as possible.

The Fair Players are a team of specially trained volunteers who are on site at key Mardi Gras events to share legal and safety information, monitor the operations of police and provide support to people who have been searched or questioned by police.

For more information about Fair Play, please visit fair-play.org.au.

To sign up and volunteer as a Fair Player, you can visit fair-play.org.au/volunteer/.

ACON Rovers

ACON-Rovers

The ACON Rovers program has been operating since 2003. Rovers are a volunteer-based community led initiative and we promote a culture of care at sexuality and gender diverse dance parties and events. Rovers are LGBTQ+ peers and allies, and we work in teams to:

  • Help patrons who require medical assistance to easily access onsite services
  • Provide harm reduction services to patrons (e.g. provide water, encourage people to take breaks and cool down, provide accurate alcohol and drug information)
  • Provide party information to patrons (e.g. directions, lost property, show times, DJ info)
  • Help patrons easily access party basics (e.g. band aids, ear plugs, sunscreen)
  • ACON Rovers are not security and are only concerned with people’s health and safety.

ACON recently surveyed community members about the Rover’s program. In this survey we found that among those familiar with the ACON Rovers, 98% agreed or strongly agreed that Rovers provide an important service at dance parties.

Book the ACON Rovers

Having the ACON Rovers on site is a great way for promoters and event organisers to support the health and wellbeing of patrons. If you are an event organiser and you are interested in having Rovers at your event, check out our information for promoters page.

Join the ACON Rovers

We’re always interested in hearing from people who would like to volunteer for our ACON Rover program. If you are interested in becoming an ACON Rover, read about what’s involved on our volunteers page.