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Our directors

For 30 years the NZ Drug Foundation has worked tirelessly to shift policy, change attitudes and offer a helping hand. Here is the team that makes things happen.

Sarah Helm smiling at the camera in front of a pink background.

Sarah Helm

Executive Director | Tumu Whakarae

Sarah Helm (Pākehā/Ngāi Tahu) is the new Executive Director of the NZ Drug Foundation, following on from Ross Bell who was in the role for 16 years. She is the main spokesperson for the NZ Drug Foundation, with a focus on drug policy and other drug-related issues.

Sarah is an experienced leader and CEO, driven by her own lived experiences and three decades at the forefront of leading change on health, youth, social and environmental issues. She combines her skills in strategy, creativity, and innovation with political nous to affect progressive change.

Sarah has worked for the Alcohol Advisory Council, Health Promotion Agency and NZ AIDS Foundation. She was head of the NZ Association of Adolescent Health & Development (Ara Taiohi) for a number of years. Most recently, she worked for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet as Strategic Communications Manager for the COVID-19 response. 

Although she is based in Wellington with her two school-aged sons, Sarah will always be a South Aucklander at heart.

Sarah writes well, speaks well, and is eloquent, smart, funny. She is equally at home talking about politics or pop culture. Her expertise focuses on health, drug reform, environment, GLBTI issues, parenting, politics and social change.

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Dr Annabel Prescott

Learning & Development Director | Kaiwhakahaere ako me te whanaketanga

Dr Annabel Prescott has both Māori and Samoan whakapapa, and has worked for 20 years in youth health, development and drug use.

Annabel is a registered addictions practitioner and clinical supervisor, and was most recently Chief Executive for Anamata Youth One Stop Shop in Taupō. Before that, she was a Senior Academic at Unitec and WelTec. Annabel's doctoral research focused on drug policy in schools. Her Master's research was in and protective factors for harmful cannabis use amongst young people.

Outside of this mahi, Annabel is the mother of two children, an avid reader, and occasionally undertakes ultra marathon events and trail running.

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Ben Birks Ang

Deputy Executive Director | Tumuaki Tuarua

Ben has worked with young people in the drug and alcohol sector for over a decade, and has built up a strong network. He also has many years’ experience in developing and delivering treatment services for young people, including establishing and overseeing school-based, community, and residential drug and alcohol treatment programmes. He is a registered addiction practitioner and accredited clinical supervisor. In addition, Ben is the Chair of the Addiction Practitioners Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (dapaanz).

Man wearing a white shirt and glasses, smiling in front of a light pink background.

Hayden Eastmond-Mein

Communications and Marketing Director | Kaiwhakahaere Whakawhiti Kōrero

Hayden Eastmond-Mein is a communications and marketing all-rounder, with experience across political campaigning, local government, the union movement and the arts. Most recently he was Head of Communications at NZEI Te Riu Roa.

Over the last 15 years he's been lucky enough to make a career out of working for organisations and causes he believes in, which makes the Drug Foundation an ideal home.

Outside of work, Hayden is loving learning to be a new dad.

Dr Jacek Kolodziej

Policy Director | Kaiwhakahaere kaupapahere

Originally from Poland, Jacek is passionate about harm reduction as a way to improve people’s health and wellbeing. He moved to Aotearoa over 6 years ago to pursue his doctoral studies on HIV prevention and has extensive background in health research and policy. In both sexual health and substance use areas, his focus is on policies that enable equitable access to effective prevention and support. At the Drug Foundation, he works on a range of policy issues spanning from drug law reform to influencing system polices to improve access to harm reduction for all people who use drugs in Aotearoa.