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Prevention Critical, Rehabilitation Essential

On any one day, there are over 5,500 inmates in New Zealand prisons.

A recent survey found that 83% had a problem with either alcohol or drugs, on entering prison.

Today, Minister for Corrections and Minister for Courts, the Hon Matt Robson, announced the release of the report “About Time”, a report about turning people away from a life of crime and reducing re-offending. Two areas covered by this report (prevention and rehabilitation) relate directly to the core of NSAD Care’s business - treatment for drug and alcohol problems.

“NSAD Care strongly believe that, in order to provide a safer community, prevention and education are critical and rehabilitation essential”, said Tim Harding, Chief Executive of NSAD Care.

“The human and financial costs of drug and alcohol abuse, in the community and the workplace, are huge. Each year, New Zealanders seek assistance and treatment at a cost in excess of $60 million.

“One of the most effective ways of reducing this cost to New Zealand, as well as making the community a safer place for us all, is through preventative measures, such as education in our schools, our workplaces, our community centers and groups. This will assist in reducing not only first offences caused by drug and alcohol abuse related actions but will also assist in reducing re-offending”, Mr Harding continued.

“The imprisonment statistics in New Zealand are sad,” he said. “We can point to some of the highest re-offending records, reported drug offences have increased, 80%-90% of the teenagers that enter the system are reconvicted within five years and the average sentence length has increased.

The range of services include:
- comprehensive assessment;
- individual and family counselling through outpatient clinics;
- group counselling in support of continuing care;
- education programmes;
- residential treatment programmes; and
- on-line self assessment.

Of the new to agency clients in the last year:
- 75% were males;
- 60% had not previously received treatment at any agency;
- 43.8% were in receipt of a benefit;
- 32.1% were 20 to 29 years of age;
- 31.8% were Tangata Whenua;
- 14.3% were aged 19 years or less; and
- 7.9% were of Pacific Island origin.

Board of Directors
A four-person Board of Directors runs NSAD Care, three of whom (Terrence FitzGerald, Lorraine Christie and Murray Bain) are trustees of the National Society on Alcohol and Drug Dependence New Zealand. The fourth member, Dr Mark Davis is an independent appointment.
The remaining trustees are Hugh Johnston, Bill Nathan and Roger Miller.

www.nsad.org.nz


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“NSAD Care can point to some really positive results from the drug and alcohol units we run in conjunction with the Department of Corrections at both Arohata and Ohura Prisons.

“Preliminary figures from the Arohata Prison Unit (which has been in operation for three years) show that around 35 percent of the women who have completed the programme had been imprisoned before at least one or two times. Amongst this same group, data collected to date (April 2001) for re-offending showed a reverse trend, with 88 percent steering clear of reimprisonment.

“NSAD Care believes that this kind of rehabilitation work throughout all our prisons would reduce the rate of re-offending greatly,” Mr Harding said.

“We are also in full agreement with the Minister’s comments about the need for further prevention strategies.

“NSAD Care has recently reviewed and standardized its entire national programmes and has developed several education modules and programmes for use in schools, in the workplace and in the community. We strongly advocate expenditure on prevention through education and brief intervention as a first step in the process.

“It is by far, more cost effective to prevent substance abuse (and therefore in many instances crime) than it is to deal with the after effects of abuse. That is the reason for our new focus on developing education programmes in addition to our traditional role in rehabilitation.”

Ends

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