A television first, the series follows a group of Australians signed up to a unique six-month treatment program.
SBS Guide

6 Oct 2020 - 9:02 AM  UPDATED 12 Nov 2020 - 11:07 AM

SBS is putting the spotlight on Australia’s addiction crisis in a new landmark documentary series.

  • Around one in 20 Australians has an addiction or substance use problem*.
  • One in six  Australians (17%) consume alcohol at levels placing them at lifetime risk of an alcohol-related disease or injury**.
  • Australians are the world’s most prolific gamblers based on per capita spending. In 2016, Australians lost more money per person (an average of $1220) than any other developed country***.

A shocking number of Australians are currently battling addiction, many in silence****. In a bold, revelatory and inspiring new documentary series made by Blackfella Films, SBS puts the spotlight on Australia’s addiction crisis in the most powerful and deeply personal way.

Addicted Australia provides extraordinary access to ten Australians and their families as they battle addiction. With the ten signed up to a unique six-month treatment program, the four-part documentary series follows their heart-wrenching journey from despair to hope and possible recovery. 

The series lays bare the challenges faced by families and their loved ones who are searching for a different life. Participants are each dealing with different forms of addiction and are all at different starting points on their journey. Drugs, alcohol and gambling are all openly discussed. We see them in their everyday environments and witness firsthand the reality of the recovery journey; the highs and the lows.

SBS Director of TV and Online Content, Marshall Heald, said:Addicted Australia is a television first. 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.”

Blackfella Films Producer Darren Dale and Series Producer and Writer Jacob Hickey, said: “This has long been an issue we’ve wanted to highlight as part of our 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.”

Professor Dan Lubman, Turning Point Executive Clinical Director, said: “Turning Point developed a targeted treatment program for these ten Australians determined to tackle their addictions. The program does not aim to be alternative or radical, but simply shows what we would expect for any other health condition. What makes it significant, is that while most Australians typically experience a treatment system that is fragmented and disjointed, we provided wraparound, tailored care for each individual, integrated with peer and family support.

“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 is a Blackfella Films production for SBS. Principal production funding from SBS in association with Screen Australia, and financed with support from Film Victoria.

Addicted Australia screens Tuesdays at 8.30pm on SBS and SBS On Demand. The four-part documentary will be available with simplified Chinese and Vietnamese subtitles. 


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For more information: sbs.com.au/AddictedAustralia