About Us Company History

Our History

our history

Drug ARM, under the Drug Awareness and Relief Foundation (Australia), has over 170 years of experiencing achieving positive transformations.


early years

Drug ARM was originally established as a division of the Queensland Temperance League (now the Drug Awareness and Relief Foundation (Australia) – known as DARFA).

During DARFA’s alcohol-free hotel period (1927 – 1986), the concept of outreach programs was established to bring much needed support, relief and information to those in need. These early outreach programs were run from the Canberra Hotel chain in Brisbane, Toowoomba and Kings Cross. Recognising the need to introduce specialised services, DARFA established Drug ARM (then the Drug Awareness and Relief Movement) as a division of the Temperance League in 1980. One of the first key initiatives of  Drug ARM was to establish a resource centre (now the Library and Information Centre) on the first floor of the Canberra Hotel in Brisbane. In 1984, the Library had already collected over 600 resources.


developing drug arm

The original Director of this new entity was Mr Dick Kennedy who established a reputation for the provision of quality programs and services. He was followed by Mr Geoffrey Maskelyne and more recently by Dr Dennis Young AM who was appointed in 1988. Under Dr Young’s leadership, the organisation continued to increase its range of intervention and support services for the community across Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia. In 2001, the Board of DARFA registered Drug ARM as a separate program company to continue growing across Australia.



helping people build a better life

In 2011, Drug ARM merged with the Mental Health Association Qld and the Australian College of Community Services, bringing together three agencies under DARFA to form one specialist group committed to providing quality care and support for people with complex needs.

DARFA began trading as Healthy Options Australia in 2013 with the three subsidiary organisations delivering services as part of the HOA Group.



positive transformations

On 4 October 2019, a new brand heralded the merger of the activities of the three sister organisations in to the Drug ARM family. Drug ARM now serves the community together as one specialist organisation. Bringing together the experience of these organisations under the Drug ARM brand honours our founding purpose, as well as positioning Drug ARM well to serve the community in the future.


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