The Liberal National Government is investing $3 million seed-funding into drug education not-for-profit Sideffect to support a national evidence-based online prevention program for delivery in schools across the country.
Over three years, the funding will support Sideffect in expanding their One Life, One Choice presentation and to develop and deploy new technology solutions that educate and empower students.
Sideffect will develop a new digital application which will not only be educational but interactive between family and friends, providing a comprehensive platform to minimise harm and facilitate collaboration between education and health services across Australia.
Minister for Health Greg Hunt said this $3 million investment would yield tangible benefits in drug education at a local level and complement the Government’s early intervention and prevention programs as well as services for withdrawal management and rehabilitation.
“Sideffect takes a comprehensive approach across the complete lifecycle of intervention opportunities, providing tools and resources to encourage our young people to make the right decisions,” Minister Hunt said.
“It is crucial that our kids have the information and skills they need to make informed decisions when exposed to high risk situations involving illicit and synthetic drugs."
“This funding expands Sideffect’s education and awareness programs and invests in the development of their real-time decision making and response management resources.”
“Sideffect have already reached more than 61,000 students across WA and after seeing their presentation, I knew it was so important we prioritised the roll out of their program nationally.
“I encourage all Australian schools and education providers to engage closely with Sideffect and begin a discussion on the devastating impact of substance use,” Mr Hunt said.
Sideffect was started by founder Rodney Bridge after the death of his son, Preston. Preston died at the age of 16 after taking a synthetic form of LSD in February 2013 during his school ball after party.
Federal Member for Swan, Steve Irons welcomed the announcement and said education plays an integral role in fighting the scourge of drugs in our communities.
“Sideffect’s story reminds us all that education, early intervention and having a discussion with our children is paramount in ensuring they are well-equipped to make safe decisions around illicit and synthetic drug use,” Mr Irons said.
“Since meeting Rod Bridge and the Sideffect team in 2016, I have seen firsthand the incredible impact they are having on students and in drug education.”
“I was so moved by the Sideffect presentation that I hosted a community forum in Swan last year and I know the students, parents, teachers and neighbours who attended were all impacted by Rodney’s story and the work he’s now doing with Sideffect.”
“The positive feedback from our community was overwhelming and I know a number of schools within the electorate have now held their own Sideffect forum.”
“The consequences of taking drugs, especially synthetic drugs, needs to be heard and reiterated so we can stop this epidemic in its tracks.”
“This investment will extend the Sideffect program and will help convince young people not to try drugs through learning about the devastating impact they can and do have.”
The Liberal Government’s strong economic management ensures the continued record investment of funding into health initiatives including drug and alcohol education, mental health services, life-saving medicines, Medicare and hospitals.