In 2014 our research team began work on an innovative project that would underpin Australia’s first dedicated website presenting carefully researched personal stories of alcohol or other drug addiction, dependence or habit – Lives of Substance. The website’s aim is to generate and present much-needed new insights into the range of experiences that make up life for people with drug use experiences of this kind. How do people manage this aspect of their lives? How do they cope with the stigma associated with addiction? What challenges do they face and how do they cope and thrive? In addressing these questions, Lives of Substance offers new perspectives on people often dismissed or stigmatised as dysfunctional, dangerous or sick.
Drawing on in-depth qualitative interviews, the website presents detailed life stories of people who consider themselves to have an addiction, dependence or drug habit. Also presented are key themes found in the interviews:
- How alcohol and other drug use fits into everyday life
- Coping with stigma and discrimination
- Looking after health and well-being
- Seeking help or initiating change
And much more. These themes are presented using video re-enactments, original audio recordings and written extracts from the interviews. Planned and designed with the help of a large national advisory panel, Lives of Substance aims to support people who take drugs, inform the public about their many different life experiences, and act as an information and training resource for professionals.