Dealing With a Drug Addiction

Nearly half of kiwi adults (49%) have used illegal or illicit drugs at some stage of their life, according to Ministry of Health research (

The most used substance is cannabis (46%). In fact NZ and Australia have the highest rate of cannabis use in the world, along with the highest rate of methamphetamine and ecstasy use (

There’s an interesting ‘snapshot’ of NZ drug use here: The point at which repeated use becomes addiction is notoriously difficult to define. For this reason the word ‘addiction’ is not used as a diagnostic term in ICD-10. The WHO recommends the word ‘dependence’ instead, followed by a degree of severity (

One measure we have for the scope of the problem is the extent to which people seek help. MOH data shows that almost 5% of people who have used drugs received help at some point (ie 58,700 people).The most common source was drug and alcohol counsellors (58.8%), followed by family members or friends (35.4%), then general practitioners (30.3%).

If you want to begin exploring solutions, the Alcohol Drug Helpline (0800 787 797) is free and confidential.

There are also some tools to help you examine your drug use here:, and a directory of treatment services here:

If you’re worried about somebody else, see

Kia kaha. No matter how it feels at times, you are not alone in this.

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