Elders take a stand against alcohol abuse
Adelaide’s elders are leading a push against drugs and alcohol.
In 1999, a group of Nunga grandparents decided to take action over growing alcohol and drug abuse problems in their families.
Grandparents who were working in welfare, corrections, health, justice, drug and alcohol services and legal rights pooled their knowledge and formed the Grannies Group.
The group is supported by the Australian Government, in recognition of its important work in Closing the Gap in Indigenous health.
“At that time a lot of our kids were in jail and we were looking after their children,” 75-year-old Grannies Group spokesperson Coral Wilson said.
“Alcohol wasn’t a problem when we were young, this was new to us, and with the drugs and alcohol, there were a lot of mental health issues as well which we didn’t understand.”
“Anyone that’s got children who drink or are on drugs, we all suffer the same thing and it’s all about supporting each other.”
The grannies are raising awareness of drug and alcohol issues. They support one another, and others, in the courts and jails, and help them access outreach services.
“Being elders in the community and working with drug and alcohol support agencies, we know everyone and can link people with the services they need,” Diana Grose, another Grannies Group founding member, said.
“We get called up all the time by people and we’re glad people do ask for help, because sometimes they think they’re the only ones with problems,” she says.
Coral said the group is tight-knit and strong.
“We don’t want anything to beat us. We’re saying ‘this is what we want for our family’. As we’ve gotten older, we’ve had enough and that’s why we speak out.”