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 We've gathered together some important data, to help give an overview of how New Zealanders use drugs.

Alcohol and other drugs have been used by people throughout history, and New Zealand is no different. At least 44 percent of adults will try an illicit drug at some point in their lives, and 93 percent will try alcohol. 

People use alcohol and other drugs for many reasons – recreation, spiritual discovery, performance enhancement, peer pressure, or to medicate physical or emotional pain. Most people who use substances don’t experience long-lasting negative effects. However, a small percentage do. The harm they experience can be wide-ranging, from injury and disease, through to social, financial and legal problems. It can also affect whānau, friends and the wider community.

About 50,000 people receive support for alcohol and other drug use each year in New Zealand – and that’s estimated to be only a third of those experiencing problems. The current legal prohibition of some drugs in New Zealand also means that we spend a great deal on enforcement – including Police, courts and prison beds.   


$ Estimated annual social cost of illicit drug-related harm

Read our 2020 Briefing to the Incoming Parliament

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Our latest Briefing to the Incoming Parliament, released in December 2020, was sent to every sitting MP elected in the October 2020 General Election. While it's mainly a policy document, it also provides a good overview of the work we do and explains the rationale behind our strategy. Read More

Get the lowdown on how Aotearoa NZ is dealing with alcohol and other drugs

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State of the Nation 2020 is the third edition of our annual report into how we're dealing with the issue of drugs. State of the Nation is designed to help us take stock, and provide a benchmark to assess whether recent reforms are delivering on their promises. Read More

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