The Wellbeing Budget

Taking mental health seriously

Expanding access to addiction treatment

There is no question that alcohol and drugs cause considerable harm to individuals, families and communities across New Zealand.

Synthetic drugs alone have been provisionally linked to as many as 80 deaths over the past two years. The cost of drug-related harm is estimated at about $1.5 billion a year, while the cost of alcohol-related harm is more than $5 billion.

We also know that more than seven out of every 10 people who receive addiction treatment also have mental health conditions, and more than half of mental health service users are thought to misuse alcohol or drugs.

Demand for addiction treatment services has grown steadily over the last decade, and we need to do more to support people struggling with alcohol and drugs.

That starts with early intervention. This Wellbeing Budget will make it easier for an estimated 5,000 people a year to get early support through primary care for alcohol and drug issues with an investment of $14 million over four years.

This will include increased availability of counselling and group therapies, in up to four regions based on community need.

We also need to upgrade current facilities and add capacity by building new facilities. That's why we're investing $200 million into new and existing mental health and addiction facilities.

One of the first regions to benefit from this will be Tairāwhiti, which will get to pioneer a new model of care, combining both mental health and addiction services on the same site.

The Government is also providing $4 million over four years to continue the Te Ara Oranga programme in Northland, which provides support to up to 500 people a year who are addicted to methamphetamine, and their families. This is a joint initiative with the New Zealand Police.

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