June 2013

The National Drug and Alcohol Awards are a highlight of the annual Drug Action Week and were presented last night in the Great Hall at Parliament House in Canberra. Professor Lisa Maher, CREIDU member, was named Winner of the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Reducing the Harms of Drug Use in Australia and Across the Asia- Pacific Region.

The 2013 Awards were hosted by the Alcohol and other Drugs council of Australia (ADCA), with support from coordinating committee partners – the Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD), the Australian Drug Foundation (ADF), and the Ted Noffs Foundation (TNF).

Professor Maher from the University of New South Wales is one of Australia’s leading researchers into the prevention of infectious disease amongst people who use drugs and other vulnerable populations.  Over the past twenty years Professor Maher’s work has taken her to North America, South East Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Pacific as she focused on the prevention and reduction of drug-related harms.  In Australia, Professor Maher has committed herself to working within local communities to provide harm reduction measures, basic primary care (including vaccinations for hepatitis B), counselling services and to support to people in need.  Her research and advocacy have informed policy and practice in many areas and led to the development of the Illicit Drug Reporting System.

CREIDU extends a warm congratulations to Professor Maher.

Media release available here.

“In awarding this honour to Professor Maher, the Prime Minister has acknowledged the significance of her research to public health policy, both in Australia and internationally. Potentially serious blood borne viruses and infectious diseases have major social implications, especially for vulnerable communities. Work undertaken by Professor Maher is fundamental to Australia’s internationally recognised efforts to prevent the transmission of HIV and hepatitis. I have no doubt that her work has directly and indirectly helped a lot of people here and globally and she is a deserving recipient of this prestigious award.”

Chairman of the Australian National Council on Drugs, Dr John Herron