24 June 2001 Media Release
Anderton concerned at costs of untreated addiction
Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton today said that Treatment Works Week is a good time to focus on addressing
the drain on our community and economy from alcohol and drug addiction.
"People who are addicted to alcohol and drugs are often unable to fully contribute to our economy and instead create
costs and problems to friends and family around them, as well as not being whole human beings themselves.
"New Zealand cannot afford to have a significant percentage of our population who are unable to actively contribute to
our community. As well as the obvious social and human issues, this also has economic implications. A recent survey
found that 83 per cent of prison inmates had a problem with either alcohol or drugs.
"The wood processing industry steering group which is working to create more jobs from the wall of wood that is
maturing, has identified that worker alcohol and drug abuse is a major barrier to industry development.
"Forestry companies and the industry are currently developing programmes to help workers accept and address their
"Every addict or alcoholic affects a lot of people around them. This problem touches most New Zealanders. Simply locking
up or marginalising addicts and alcoholics won't work. We need instead to provide treatment options to help them to
address their problems. We need to encourage them to come forward for help.
"I can't imagine people with an alcohol or drug problem saying as children that they wanted to grow up to be alcohol or
drug dependent. There is a strong element of addictive illness involved and we, as a community, need to help them to
"Successful responses to addiction can reduce health and corrections costs, reduce crime and most importantly save
lives. The work of the agencies and groups involved in Treatment Works week is excellent and needs to be supported and
applauded," said Jim Anderton.
Treatment Works Week is to highlight "the value of prevention and treatment in reducing harm arising from the misuse of
alcohol and other drugs". The week runs from 24 to 29 June and includes United Nations International Day against Drug
Abuse on 26 June.