Drug Foundation says funding must double to meet need

By Mānia Clarke

Health Minister Johnathan Coleman has confirmed the budget will include new funding for mental health and addiction services as part of its Social Investment Package. However, the NZ Drug Foundation says unless funding is doubled it won't scratch the surface in terms of the growing need for support, particularly among Māori.

CEO Ross Bell, said, “There are about 50,000 New Zealanders who need treatment who can't get it.  We think, in order to meet the needs of those people, the government needs to double the amount of funding that it puts in to drug and alcohol treatment.”

Bell says a boost is needed in services designed and delivered by Māori.  

“The government needs to put money into drug treatment and part of that money needs to go into building up the addiction treatment workforce and having specialised services that meets the needs of Māori, of young people.”

Auckland-based Māori Councillor Brent Swann concurs saying there are not enough Māori councillors and social work professionals.

"We're a rare breed.  There are very few out there working with our people,” said Swann. 

$321mil has been allocated for the Social Investment Package.