The truth about addiction

No one chooses addiction, just as they never choose to be abused, traumatised or homeless.

Behind so many stories of drug and alcohol addiction, there is trauma.

Often, substance abuse is used as a coping mechanism.

This was true for Lisa*.  She was just nine when her stepdad started abusing her. Years of neglect and violence left her with panic attacks, severe anxiety and self-harming.

“Eventually, I was abusing drugs and alcohol. I couldn’t face the day without something in my system.” ˗ Lisa

Addiction was not Lisa’s choice. And it was not her fault.

After her third suicide attempt, she sought help

Thankfully, Lisa found a place at a treatment centre for young Australians funded by Sir David Martin Foundation. When she arrived, she was just 16, but already showing signs of post-traumatic stress.

During her treatment, Lisa was supported to manage her mental illness and address the trauma she suffered as a young girl. She learnt new coping skills to help her live a safe and healthy life.

“I would be dead if it wasn’t for the programs Sir David Martin Foundation fund. I am living a life free from drugs and alcohol. The program taught me skills to live a normal life.”

– Lisa

Children like Lisa need a safe place to heal

Young people in crisis don’t need judgement or pity. They need expert care and dedicated space to rebuild their lives. Without this opportunity, young people like Lisa will continue down the dark and dangerous path of addiction.

The painful truth is:

of Australians requesting help for drug and alcohol addiction are under 30

of the young people who need our help with addiction live with a mental illness, often undiagnosed

is the leading cause of death for young Australians

Through the support of generous donors, over 3,000 young people’s lives have been saved, with:

• Zero suicide attempts

• 100% in housing

• 80% engaged in education and employment (pre COVID)

We fund life changing services

Rehabilitation programs

Designed specifically for young people to feel safe and supported so they can recover.

Dedicated youth workers

To support each young person to stay on track when they complete their treatment and return to their normal lives.

You can help save a young person’s life with a regular donation

We rely on generous donors who believe that young Australians in crisis deserve special care. A monthly donation is the best way to help keep these vital programs operating.

Our mission is to help young Australians battling addiction.

Please make a monthly donation to help turn a young person’s life around.

About us

Sir David Martin Foundation is a 30-year old family foundation, helping young people in crisis. The Foundation is named after the former Governor of NSW and the Martin family continues to drive the vision of Sir David, to give safety, hope and opportunity to all vulnerable young Australians. We are the major funder of Mission Australia’s Triple Care Farm, a unique, holistic treatment centre which each year gives over 200 vulnerable young Australians, aged 16-24, a safe place to get well and prepare for new opportunities.

Find help

If you need urgent help right now, please call 000 or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 for immediate 24/7 crisis support.

Visit our Find help page to locate youth drug and alcohol support or services near you


Read more about Psychological Distress in Young People in Australia, Fifth Biennial Youth Mental Health Report: 2012-2020.

*Names and images changed to protect privacy