Who is AIVL

The Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) is the national organisation representing people who use/have used illicit drugs and is the peak body for the state and territory peer-based drug user organisations. AIVL operates on a peer-based, user-centred philosophy, which means the organisation is run by and for people who use/have used illicit drugs and proactively encourages and supports people who use illicit drugs and people on drug treatment to speak on their own behalf and have control of their own organisation.

The primary aim of AIVL is to promote the health and human rights of people who use or have used illicit drugs. The organisation believes people who use/have used illicit drugs should:

  • Have autonomy over their own bodies;
  • Be treated with dignity and respect; and
  • Be able to live their lives free from stigma, discrimination and health and human rights violations.

The key objectives of AIVL are to:

  • Address and advocate for the health and human rights issues for all people who use/have used illicit drugs;
  • Prevent the transmission of blood borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C amongst people who inject drugs primarily through peer education and by promoting peer-based programs, services and approaches;
  • Advocate for the provision of peer-based support and information to those already living with HIV and/or chronic hepatitis C and/or chronic hepatitis B and to promote effective models of service delivery and care for our community;
  • Represent the interests of people who use illicit drugs and people on drug treatment to the general public, governments, the media and relevant sectors and services;
  • Promote the need for radical legal and policy reform in relation to the current approach to addressing illicit drugs in society;
  • Promote the need for services and programs that reduce drug related harm among people who use illicit drugs;
  • Undertake consumer advocacy in relation to drug treatment issues.

AIVL was formed in the late 1980s/early 1990s in response to an identified need from the state/territory peer-based drug user organisations to have a national ‘voice’ for people who use illicit drugs, and in particular in relation to people who inject drugs. At the time, the Federal Government was formulating Australia’s first national response to HIV/AIDS and as drug users we were fighting for the establishment of Needle & Syringe Programs (NSPs) and advocating for the idea that drug users could effectively educate each other about HIV prevention and other issues and run their own organisations. This is the context in which AIVL as a national organisation representing people who use/have used illicit drugs came into existence. AIVL became a formal incorporated, legal entity in 1992 which marked the development of both AIVL as the national body and a national network of organisations that over the ensuing decades has gone on to be highly regarded for our resilience in the face of extreme political and moral challenges, the quality of our work and importantly, the strength of our stance and representation on issues for people who inject and use illicit drugs both within and outside of Australia.