Buvette Masthead

Quiet Revolution: Sharon Tuffin

Laura Peppas

For our third magazine, the ‘Hidden Issue’, we wanted to shine the light on Canberra women on the forefront of social justice in our city. 

They’re the women bravely leading the charge against Canberra’s big issues: issues that while many are uncomfortable to talk about, are reaching devastating proportions in our city. With rising suicide, drug use and domestic violence rates, these women are fighting to ensure their cause doesn’t become another overlooked statistic. Meet six leaders starting their own quiet revolution.

While drug and alcohol misuse is often in the spotlight, it’s for all the wrong reasons, says Sharon Tuffin.

As the Acting CEO for Karralika Programs, a Residential and outreach drug treatment programme for families and individuals, Sharon is campaigning to “change the conversation” about alcohol and drug dependence.

“We need to talk about the person, not the ‘addict’, or the ‘ice scourge’ as this only perpetuates the stigma and discrimination so many of our clients and others in the community face daily,” she says.

“The term ‘war on drugs’ is not helpful as it implies a winner and a loser. If we take this approach, everyone loses.”

Currently, one in five ACT residents aged 14 years and over consume alcohol at levels that place them at risk of lifetime harm, leaving very few individuals and families untouched by this significant community problem.

“Over 9,000 children in the ACT each year are estimated to have been exposed to harmful drug use in the home,” says Sharon.

“By acknowledging the human face of dependence, rather than a label or an amorphous group, we start to understand that they could be our fathers, mothers, daughters and sons, aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents and friends and as such are worthy of our compassion, support and encouragement to talk about their struggles and to access treatment that works, creating a vision of their own recovery.”

Sharon’s goal is to establish a program for older people that provides information, education and prevention services, as well as outreach and support groups to help people connect and curb risky drinking.

“Another of our goals is to continue to strengthen and grow our Family Program,” she says. “This is the only comprehensive residential drug and alcohol program for families, where children up to the age of 12 can reside with their parents whilst seeking treatment in the ACT and southern half of NSW.”

We’ll be releasing the women of Quiet Revolution’s stories individually over the coming weeks. You can read the article in full in our latest Magazine, available for free at these locations while stocks last. 


Feature image by Martin Ollman


Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author