After raising her family in regional Victoria, Judy Ryan relocated to inner-city Melbourne in 2012 where she became inadvertently immersed in a deadly heroin crisis.


Drug-impacted communities experience daily trauma as they manage people with addiction and complex health issues. Residents witness public injecting and overdoses, ambulances blocking property access, and the relentless sound of sirens. These communities are stigmatised by negative media and become collateral damage in the failed War on Drugs due to neglect and the inability of governments to effectively engage with them.


Judy launched a successful grassroots campaign in 2016 for a medically supervised injecting facility in her community. The internationally acclaimed facility that subsequently opened in 2018 has saved many lives and offers rehabilitation, mental health, medical, housing, dental, and legal support services.


Judy has a Bachelor of Business from RMIT University and has been a candidate in three levels of government, promoting policies that address drug addiction as a health issue. Judy has published her story of the residents’ campaign and is a sought-after speaker. She travels throughout Victoria, destigmatising drug addiction and encouraging communities to lobby for improved drug-support services.


Judy was awarded an Order of Australia (OAM) in the 2022 Queen's Birthday honours for 'service to community health in a range of programs'.


Judy’s lived experience inspired her determination to make a difference in her community. She is unwavering in her passion for changing the lives of stigmatised, marginalised people with drug addiction. She has demonstrated the power of community activism to make the impossible possible, and saving and dignifying Australians’ lives.


Judy will use her Churchill Fellowship to investigate international models of community engagement that enabled European, American, and Canadian governments to implement evidence-based, harm-reduction facilities for people with addiction that could be applied in an Australian setting.

Project

The Sir William Kilpatrick Churchill Fellowship to learn how drug-impacted communities engage governments to save lives using health-based solutions

The Sir William Kilpatrick Churchill Fellowship to learn how drug-impacted communities engage governments to save lives using health-based solutions

Canada
France
Ireland
Switzerland
United Kingdom
USA
Health and Medicine
Judy Ryan

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