John Ryan is the CEO Penington Institute. He has successfully advocated for government policy and funding change on naloxone distribution to potential overdose witnesses, increased access to needle and syringe programs and opioid substitution program access. John has advocated for evidence-based responses to drug use and related issues in the media, with government and key stakeholders. He has been a board member of Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association. John has been the convenor of the Australian Drugs Conference and Chief Editor of the Anex Bulletin, Australia’s harm reduction broadsheet. John has worked in university research, government policy and on the health frontline in a needle and syringe program. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Monash University and in 2012 received a Churchill Fellowship to study ways to improve drug policy and practice.
Les Twentyman is a recipient of the Order of Australia Medal. As a full time street outreach worker for more than 25 years, Les knows more about our streets than most. Having originally established the Care for Kids Program featuring high profile AFL footballers, the Smorgon 20th Man Fund Youth Refuge and the Back to School Program and the annual Childrens Christmas party. In recent years, since returning full time to his first passion 20th Man Fund he has shone a light on the trends in emerging youth issues like gang violence, weapons carriage and its relationship to the growing incidence of truancy in our education system. The hard hitting DVD “The Realities of Cyber Bullying” and csa “Knives Trash Lives” are testament to Les’ pull no punches approach to exposing the damage caused to youth through peer pressure and social media.