A profile of alcohol and drug clients in New Zealand: Results from the 1998 national telephone survey

Simon J. Adamson, J. Douglas Sellman, Ann Futterman-Collier, Terry Huriwai, Daryle Deering, Fraser Todd, Paul Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Aims. To describe the profile of clients seen across the broad spectrum of dedicated alcohol and drug treatment services in New Zealand. Methods. 217 randomly selected alcohol and drug treatment workers in New Zealand were interviewed by telephone, yielding a randomly selected sample of 291 clients. Workers were asked to identity the age, gender, ethnicity, main substance use problem and geographical location of clients. Results. 60% of clients were male, 28% were Maori, the mean age was 31 years and the largest group of clients were seen for alcohol related issues (45%), followed by cannabis (27%) and opioids (17%). None of these variables differed significantly across residential/non-residential services. Significant trends to emerge were that Maori clients were more likely to live rurally and to be in treatment for cannabis use, women were more likely to be in treatment for benzodiazepine use and less likely for cannabis use, opioid users were more likely to be seen at Crown Health Enterprise funded services, and cannabis users, were (on average) younger than other clients, while alcohol users were older. Conclusions. Alcohol and drug treatment services are dominated by clients seeking assistance with alcohol and cannabis use problems. Women are not under-represented in this population. Maori are over-represented. This contrasts with the absence of Asian clients and an under-representation of Pacific Island clients. There are some significant variations in the types of drugs used by different demographic treatment seeking populations. In contrast, client differences across treatment settings are minimal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-416
Number of pages3
JournalNew Zealand Medical Journal
Issue number1119
StatePublished - Oct 13 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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