Originally called ‘Drug & Alcohol Information Resource Centre’ (DARC), the service began in 1978 in response to a community need for a specialised alcohol and other drug information service for the community.
In 1985 becoming ‘Regional Drug & Alcohol Information Resource Centre’ (RDARC) then in 1988 as ‘Western Sydney Drug & Alcohol Resource Centre Inc’ (WESDARC) gained legal status becoming an Incorporated Association.
It was housed by Penrith City Council (PCC) at St Marys until 2000, until redevelopment of the land led to a move to a leased cottage in Reserve Street Penrith.
In 2002 WESDARC relocated into Commercial premises in High Street Penrith, and in 2007 moved a short distance to its present location in the Community Connection Building (PCC) in Henry Street Penrith.
Given that no single organisation can address the complex issues in a community related to alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems, throughout its existence much emphasis has been put on collaborating with many different organisations and government bodies, creating working partnerships for various projects.
32 years on in 2010 we launched our new trading name as substance.org this has also brought a new slogan ‘Achieving Healthier Communities’ this highlights how far we have come in acknowledging now that AOD issues can not be dealt with in isolation, they are derived from, influenced and come to have an impact on by a plethora of other issues including; mental health, family conflict, domestic violence, poverty, peer pressure, relationships and isolation. Therefore a community approach which seek to achieve healthy lifestyles overall has been adopted.
In keeping with the current times and trends this year also saw the launch of our new and more interactive website as we reach out to expand our social networks having our very own Twitter page.
Today, as one of only a few organisations in Sydney to offer such services, we are called upon by an extensive sector of the community overall.
Substance.org has an extensive and rich history and is an exemplar of the development of a social innovation coming from a small community organisation that promotes harm minimisation working towards achieving healthier communities.