A $10 million investment package to reduce harm from alcohol and drug abuse has been announced by Justice Minister Simon Power and Health Minister Tony Ryall.
The package is designed to assist thousands of people with alcohol and drug related issues of all severities.
The funding, which comes out of alcohol excise revenue, is on top of the approximate $120 million spent on specialist alcohol and drug treatment services each year.
The package complements the Government’s work to strengthen the regulation of alcohol through the Alcohol Reform Bill and delivers on the priority to reduce alcohol-related harm under the Government’s Drivers of Crime programme.
“Alcohol and drug abuse are major drivers of crime, with two-thirds of offenders who enter prison having dependency issues,” Mr Power said.
Mr Ryall said: “This package builds on services which are focused on people with severe alcohol and drug dependency by addressing the biggest treatment gap for people with mild to moderate alcohol and drug issues.”
The package includes annual spending of:
The Ministers said that to reduce the impact of alcohol as a driver of crime there needs to be a balanced continuum of services and a much bigger focus on prevention and early intervention.
“Through this package the Government hopes to influence a change in drinking culture, prevent hazardous drinking from escalating, and reduce offending and victimisation,” Mr Power said.
Officials from the Ministries of Health and Justice will create a detailed implementation plan for the package and it is expected the interventions will begin in the second half of next year.
More on the Drivers of Crime programme can be found at http://www.justice.govt.nz/justice-sector/drivers-of-crime