New Documentary Series Puts the Spotlight on Australia’s Addiction Crisis


Around one in 20 Australians has an addiction or substance abuse problem and sometimes, those who are struggling are hiding in plain sight.

In a new documentary series, 10 Australians and their families give an all-access look at their lives as they battle addiction.

In a bold, revelatory and inspiring new documentary series made by Blackfella Films, SBS is releasing Addicted Australia — putting the spotlight on Australia’s addiction crisis in the most powerful and deeply personal way.

Premiering on November 10, the four-part series will follow addicts who are signed up to a unique six-month treatment program. Participants are each dealing with different forms of addiction including drugs, gambling and alcohol. They will face challenges as we witness firsthand the reality of the recovery journey; the highs and the lows.

Addicted Australia is a television first,” SBS director of TV and Online Content, Marshall Heald said in a statement.

“Never before has such access been granted to what is normally a closed environment. By opening this space and sharing these authentic and nuanced stories of addiction, the series aims to provide all Australians with a deeper understanding of addiction and recovery, reduce stigma and stereotype and spark a national conversation. By showing what addiction and treatment can look like, we also hope to encourage others to seek support.”

For Blackfella Films producer Darren Dale and writer Jacob Hickey, this is an issue they’ve wanted to highlight as part of their factual program making.

“There is almost no Australian, whatever their background, who hasn’t been impacted by addiction, either personally or through someone they love. We were granted extraordinary access to people’s lives and their recovery journey. We hope their bravery and honesty means myths and stereotypes are challenged, the face of addiction humanised, and many others will be inspired to seek help.”

According to Professor Dan Lubman, executive clinical director of Turning Point Australia: “Addiction is one of the most stigmatised of all health conditions.”

“The accompanying shame and stigma can result in a delay of up to 20 years from when somebody starts developing a problem with alcohol, drugs or gambling before they seek help. That is far too long, and as a consequence, many Australians and their families suffer in silence. We must come up with a better way of helping people. We’re hoping this treatment program will not only help the ten participants but also be a catalyst for systemic change.”

Addicted Australia premieres Tuesday 10 November, 8.30 pm on SBS and SBS On Demand. The four-part documentary series continues weekly on Tuesdays at 8.30 pm.

For more information on addiction, please visit Health Direct or Turning Point. 

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