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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

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

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Health Not Handcuffs

A coalition of organisations committed to changing our drug laws, particularly around cannabis

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