Challenges to the participation of non-government organisations in drug policy processes

Dr Natalie Thomas1
1University Of New England, Armidale, Australia

Civil society participation in drug policy processes is an important part of international and domestic drug policy systems. Non-government and civil society organisations act as key service providers and policy actors and are recognised as such by governments at the local, state, and federal level in Australia – at least at the level of policy rhetoric. There are, however, a number of practical challenges to the realisation of the important role that non-government organisations could play in drug policy processes in the Australian context. This paper reports on research on Australian non-government organisations to explore some of the challenges to their participation and functioning in the Australian drug policy system. The findings highlight issues around funding, advocacy, power, voice and participation within the drug policy field.


Dr Natalie Thomas is a Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at the University of New England in Armidale, New South Wales. She completed her PhD thesis in 2017 at Griffith University on the role of the non-government sector in the Australian drug policy field.


The society is devoted to promoting criminological study, research and practice in the region and bringing together persons engaged in all aspects of the field. The membership of the society reflects the diversity of persons involved in the field, including practitioners, academics, policy makers and students.

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