The power of partnership: CESPHN and ACON working together to tackle LGBTI substance use


International and domestic research identifies alcohol and other drug (AOD) use as being higher amongst Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) communities than for their heterosexual counterparts (Mooney-Somers et al. 2015, Ritter, Matthew-Simmons and Carragher 2012; Leonard et al. 2012; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014). The National Drug strategy Household Survey (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2016 pp 109-110) found that in the preceding 12 months, homosexual and bisexual individuals were: 5.8 times more likely to have used ecstasy, 3.2 times more likely to use cannabis, 3.7 times more likely to use cocaine and more likely to smoke daily, consume alcohol in risky quantities, use illicit drugs and misuse pharmaceuticals. In line with this research, Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network (CESPHN) conducted a regional needs assessment which identified the LGBTI population as a priority group. This has enabled ACON to partner with CESPHN to explore effective population health interventions and to develop a social marketing campaign to enable the community to better identify AOD issues and provide education and resources to support people who use alcohol and other drugs. This presentation will showcase ACON‰’s exciting alcohol and other drug digital information hub for the LGBTI communities and provide data on the impact and outcomes of the campaign.


Raquel Lowe |

Raquel Lowe currently works as a Community Health Promotion Officer at ACON, a role which she has been in for almost 3 years. Having worked at Odyssey House long term rehabilitation centre, Raquel‰’s current role aligns with her passions for both harm reduction and working with the LGBTI community. 



Chris Keyes

Chris works as Drug and Mental Health Manager with Central and Eastern Sydney PHN, and has held various roles across Community-Managed Mental Health. She is committed to initiatives that support workers and the services they work within, to deliver high quality integrated supports that enable successful outcomes that meet individual‰’s health and wellbeing needs.