Addiction in New Zealand

It is estimated that one in eight New Zealanders are directly or indirectly affected or suffer negative effects from the use of alcohol and other drugs.  In reality, that number is likely to be much higher. 


Addiction affects everybody in some way. It destroys lives and families and can have serious implications to a person’s medical and physical health and result in death.


Addiction doesn’t discriminate and impacts on people from all walks of life.  Many people with addiction issues are high functioning and find ways to cover up their addiction until the wheels come off, they hit rock bottom and their life and health fall apart.


Industry experts have estimated that around 12% of New Zealanders will experience substance abuse disorder in their lifetime, yet only 46,730 accessed treatment in 2016 for their addiction related issues. (1)


Some within the industry consider that it could be more like 1 in 5 people who suffer from addiction, which equates to around 675,000 New Zealanders who are impacted by alcohol, drug and prescription medicine addiction.


There is a high expectation that this number will grow as substance disorders become more commonplace across all ages and treatment becomes harder to access.

(1) Figures obtained from

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