Rodney Bridge

Founder, Sideffect and anti-synthetic drugs campaigner

2023 WA Australian of the Year Nominee

Rodney Bridge’s 16-year-old son died in 2013 after taking a synthetic form of LSD purchased over the dark web by a friend.  

Told by authorities that investigating the drug organisation was futile, he tracked down the company that made the drug himself and travelled to China, secretly filming a meeting with the drug’s distributors.  

Rodney took the evidence to the Australian Federal Police. Later, he enlisted Nine’s current affairs program 60 Minutes to film another meeting in China using hidden cameras. That vision was seen by 1.2 billion people worldwide.  

Rodney’s investigation resulted in a crackdown in China and the restriction of manufacturing, trade and sale of 116 synthetic drugs. Twenty-one thousand Chinese nationals were arrested, 1,500 factories were closed and 248 websites were shut down.   

Rodney’s tragedy became his life’s mission. He founded Sideffect Australia, a not-for-profit that builds awareness about substance use and teaches young people to make informed decisions.