Drug ARM, under the Drug Awareness and Relief Foundation (Australia) – DARFA, is founded upon 175 years of support for positive transformation. Our history can be traced back as far as 1849 when the Moreton Bay Temperance Society was formed. With affiliations to Christian Churches, the society harnessed a movement calling for moderation of alcohol. Learn more about our 175th year and celebrations.
In 1931, The Queensland Temperance League (now DARFA) was formed, following a number of amalgamations. The league funded its activities, including outreach programs, from revenue it raised from running alcohol-free hotels in Brisbane, Toowoomba and Kings Cross. This temperance hotel period operated between 1927 – 1986.
The Canberra Hotel in Brisbane
In 1988, DARFA established Drug ARM to broaden its range of specialist alcohol and other drug support. More people and families were being impacted by drug use and were desperate for help. In 2001, DARFA registered Drug ARM as a separate program company. At one stage, Drug ARM was operating programs across Queensland, NSW, SA, WA and New Zealand.
First street outreach services 1989
The original Director of Drug ARM was Mr Dick Kennedy who established a reputation for the provision of quality programs and services. He was followed by Mr Geoffrey Maskelyne. Dr Dennis Young AM was appointed in 1988, a role he held for 30 years, having a strong influence on the growth and development of Drug ARM. He was followed by Jody Wright in 2018. Today, Drug ARM is guided by the leadership of Bradley Strong, who was appointed Executive Director in 2023.
First Drug ARM director, Dick Kennedy
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.
Healthy Options Australia (HOA Group) trading in 2013
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.
Drug ARM serving the community
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