Who is the Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League?
The Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) is the national peak organisation representing the state and territory drug user organisations and issues of national significance for people who use or have used illicit drugs. You can find our Member Organisations on the menu to your left and above. AIVL is a peer-based organisation, which means that it is run by and for people who use or have used illicit drugs. You can access our Aims & Objectives (PDF, 46 KB) or our entire Constitution (PDF, 228 KB).
The following documents provide you with brief information about AIVL:
AIVL always remains open to new membership applications from suitable groups who meet the membership criteria. AIVL currently has three levels of membership including:
Formally constituted peer-based drug user organisations;
Informal Networks of people who use or have used illicit drugs; and
Auspiced peer-run projects/programs of another NGO.
Each level of membership has specific membership criteria which are noted in our Constitution (PDF, 228 KB).
The state and territory member organisations of AIVL are also peer-oriented, membership based organisations. Their members include individuals who use or have used illicit drugs, families and friends of people who use or have used and people who support their organisational aims and objectives.
A Brief History
For much of its history, AIVL operated as an unfunded national network and peak organisation. Although the organisation formed in the late 1980’s, it was 1992 when AIVL became a formally constituted, incorporated association.
From the late 1980’s to 1998, AIVL functioned as an unfunded national organisation with the exception of occasional one-off project grants. Despite the lack funding, AIVL developed into a strong, effective and accountable organisation.
In March 1998, AIVL received its first significant government funding for a two-year National Hepatitis C Education & Prevention Program for People Who Inject Illicit Drugs. The effectiveness and success of this program resulted in the organisation receiving additional funding for a National Hepatitis C Policy Program in late 1999. These programs continued to be funded and AIVL has recently commenced new two-year Education and Policy Programs to 2005.
Significant government funding for hepatitis C related activities also allowed AIVL to establish an office and employ permanent staff members for the first time in the organisation’s history. AIVL maintains an office in Canberra and currently has a staff team comprising of six people.
AIVL’s Organisational Philosophy
AIVL operates on a peer-based, user-centred philosophy, which means the organisation encourages and supports people who use or have used illicit drugs to speak on their own behalf and to participate directly in all levels of the organisation.
AIVL also promotes the health and human rights of people who use or have used illicit drugs. The organisation believes people who use or have used illicit drugs should be treated with dignity and respect both as human beings and as consumers of health and social services.
AIVL’s Organisational Structure
As an incorporated, membership-based non-government organisation, AIVL is governed by an elected, national executive committee. The AIVL Executive Committee is elected from the AIVL membership on an annual basis at the AIVL Annual General Meeting.
The AIVL AGM is attended by two delegates from each state and territory, members of the AIVL Executive Committee and the staff of the AIVL office. Other ‘observers’ from member organisations can attend the AIVL AGM upon request.
The AIVL office and the funded programs of the organisation are managed on a day-to-day level by the AIVL Executive Officer, which is a paid staff position. The Program staff regularly consult with and involve the AIVL membership in the implementation of all program activities.
How is AIVL Funded?
Hepatitis C Activities:
AIVL currently receives the majority of its funding to provide a range of national hepatitis C related activities under its National Hepatitis C Program.
Some of the key activities undertaken by the AIVL Education Program include:
developing peer education resources and campaigns focused on hepatitis C prevention and treatment and other harm reduction information;
providing training for peer educators;
researching key issues affecting highly marginalised groups of illicit drug users and developing targeted peer education responses;
disseminating the latest hepatitis C education information and research to AIVL members and other service providers through the bi-monthly “AIVL Policy and Research Update”;
providing web-based education on hepatitis C and related issues; and
representing the perspective of people who use illicit drugs at national hepatitis C related conferences, committees, forums and workshops.
Some of the key activities undertaken by the AIVL Policy Program include:
representing the ‘voice’ of people who use or have used illicit drugs at the national level including government and non-government processes and inquiries;
developing policy statements and discussion papers on key issues for people who use or have used illicit drugs;
representing policy issues for people who use or have used illicit drugs at national hepatitis C related conferences, forums and workshops;
publishing a national policy magazine “Junkmail”;
supporting the managers of the AIVL member organisations & training peer advocates;
initiating peer-driven research on hepatitis C related policy issues;
providing web-based policy responses and information;
developing media responses and media campaigns on key hepatitis C related policy issues;
providing information to federal politicians and their advisors on the hepatitis C related policy issues; and
developing strategic alliances and partnerships with other relevant national organisations.
Drug Policy Activities:
In 2005 AIVL commenced the National Treatment Service Users (TSU) Project: Phase One, a research project on consumer participation in drug treatment services. The final report is available on the AIVL website. In 2007 AIVL commenced TSU: Phase Two which is focused on conducting five consumer participation demonstration projects in drug treatment settings in 3 states across Australia. The final report from TSU: Phase Two will be available early in 2010.
In 2008 AIVL commenced a landmark project designed to document the contribution that drug user organisations and drug user representatives have made to Australian drug policy over the past 20 years. The “Trackmarks” Project is funded under the Drug Policy Modelling Program, UNSW and will include an online policy archive and timeline of Australian user organisations and a national consultation report. “Trackmarks” online will be available in late 2009.
AIVL also publishes a bi-annual magazine “Junkmail” which aims to inform and entertain as well as provide a ‘voice’ and forum for drug users on the issues that affect them in their daily lives. Back issues of “Junkmail” are available at: www.aivl.org.au.
In 2008, AIVL received funding through AusAID for our first program of work in the Asia region. The AIVL Regional Partnerships Project aims to develop and maintain partnerships with peer-based drug user organisations in Asia to support effective regional responses to HIV among people who inject drugs. This is a 3 year program of activities until June 2011.
Throughout the organisation’s history, AIVL has continued to undertake unfunded activities and projects including education and policy responses on the full range of health, social and legal issues for people who use or have used illicit drugs. These issues include HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, overdose, drug treatment, vein care, abscesses, endocarditis, legal rights, police, prisons, disposal, welfare, counselling, support, employment, training, education, etc.