For 30 years the NZ Drug Foundation has worked tirelessly to shift policy, change attitudes and offer a helping hand. Here is the team that makes things happen.
Alana has a strong research background in alcohol and other drugs (including tobacco), with a special interest in vaping. She has a PhD in the neuroscience of addiction, and spent three-and-a-half years researching population-level substance use for the Ministry of Health and Health Promotion Agency.
She has done extensive myth busting around the issue of vaping, including public talks, and she's passionate about communicating research findings in a way that everyone can understand.
Ben has worked with young people in the drug and alcohol sector for over a decade, and has built up a strong network. He also has many years’ experience in developing and delivering treatment services for young people, including establishing and overseeing school-based, community, and residential drug and alcohol treatment programmes. He is a registered addiction practitioner and accredited clinical supervisor.
In addition, Ben is the Chair of the Addiction Practitioners Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (dapaanz). In the little spare time he has left, he loves searching YouTube for different covers and remixes of music.
Based in Auckland, Eugene will be primarily focused on Whare Tukutuku, the new Workforce Innovation & Education and Training initiative we are developing in collaboration with Te Rau Ora.
Eugene is passionate and committed to enabling change through art and communication. As a researcher, writer and director, he has contributed to over 70 documentaries – primarily social commentaries, touching on justice, addiction and hauora.
Kali’s extensive background in international human rights has taken her to Berlin, London, Mexico City and Botswana. A highlight of that period was helping Survival International to run a high-profile campaign on behalf of the Kalahari ‘Bushmen’, seeing their land rights case successfully through the High Court of Botswana.
Before starting at the Drug Foundation, Kali helped develop youth crime policy at the Ministry of Justice. Now she works on a range of policy issues including drug law reform, methamphetamine-contaminated houses and emergency overdose harm reduction. Her inexplicable love of extreme cake decorating has recently culminated in a pineapple, an American bulldog and Hogwarts castle and grounds, complete with train.
Melanie started working as an Administrator with the NZ Drug Foundation in 2017, and now coordinates the organisation’s communities of practice. Prior to working at the NZ Drug Foundation, Melanie spent three years working for a drug and homelessness charity in a busy recovery hub in Scotland. She helped provide support based on harm reduction, moving towards recovery.
Bringing her unique brand of humour to the mix, Melanie embraces any opportunity to turn the everyday into something puntastic.
Melanie is currently on maternity leave and we look forward to welcoming her back in 2021.
Natalie has a background in journalism, subediting and graphic design. A champion of plain English storytelling, she provides support to ensure online and print resources combine content and visual elements to effectively communicate the right messages.
Since starting with the Drug Foundation in December 2016, Natalie has learned how to film and edit video content, as well as managing social media – which she views as a tool rather than a way of life. In her spare time, she’d rather be out building a treehouse for her kids, or trawling for recyclable materials to improve housing conditions for both her chooks and her family.
Over the past 25 years Stephen has worked within in a variety of communications and community development roles for a broad range of NGOs and government agencies. After helping create the pioneering CommunityNet Aotearoa website, launched in 1998, much of his focus has been helping organisations to convert ideas for websites and other online tools into reality. Once sceptical of Twitter, he is now deeply immersed using social networks to achieve real world action.
Stephen has a BA (Hons) from the University of Canterbury and a MA (Hons) in Social Policy from Massey University. You’ll often find Stephen biking madly to the train station, or trying to catch up with his kids.
Tom’s work history has spanned a wide range of locations and vocations, having been interspersed over the years with studies and travel. He has a BA in History and Political Science and has most recently worked in the local government and legal sectors.
In his spare time, Tom attends as many gigs as possible, cooks up a plant-based storm, and pats his fair share of "floofy animals".
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