Penington Institute

Reducing the harms of drug use

Who we are

About Penington Institute

It’s too easy to judge people who use drugs.

Legal or illegal, misuse of any psychoactive substance impacts us all.

At Penington Institute, we think it’s far more productive to prevent and tackle drug use in a safe, effective and practical way.

We recognise that risky behaviours are part of being human.

Our focus is on making individuals and families safer and healthier, helping communities, frontline services and governments reduce harm, respect human rights and improve the rule of law.

The institute is inspired by and named in honour of Emeritus Professor David Penington AC, one of Australia’s leading public intellectuals and health experts, who has long been a courageous advocate for rational solutions to drug problems and the prevention of HIV/AIDS.

Like David, we engage on controversial issues and support innovative evidence-based actions to improve people’s lives – irrespective of how challenging our perspective might appear.

A not-for-profit organisation, Penington Institute’s research and analysis provides the evidence needed to help us all rethink drug use and create change for the better.

We focus on promoting effective public health strategies, frontline workforce education and public awareness.

An independent and non-partisan voice of reason on drug policy, we are a straight-talking ally for practical insights, information and evidence-based action for people in need.

Penington Institute is the convenor of International Overdose Awareness Day, a major global event focused on overdose prevention, remembering the loved ones lost to overdose, ending the stigma surrounding drug use and raising awareness of the overdose crisis sweeping the globe.

Penington Institute obtained an educational grant from Swedish pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Camurus AB to create Life Savers. Camurus AB develops medicines for the treatment of serious and chronic diseases.

The website was created and edited by Penington Institute and reviewed by people with lived experience of opioids and other drug use as well as medical professionals.

Life Savers is a brief guide to treatment for opioid dependence and addiction, for everyday people who are dependent or concerned they might be dependent on opioids including pain medications (such as codeine, morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl) and drugs that are usually illegal (such as heroin and opium).