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50 Years of Rehab Celebrated in NZ

Drug & Alcohol Treatment Provider Celebrates 50 Years Of Rehabilitation In New Zealand

The National Society on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NSAD) celebrates its 50th anniversary this month with the publication of its history.

To mark the anniversary Wellington historian Susan Butterworth has written ‘A Duty of Care: Fifty years of Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation in New Zealand’, which details the scope of work done by the Society and the challenges it has faced since its inception.

The book will be launched by the Minister of Health, the Hon Annette King, and the Associate Minister of Health, the Hon Jim Anderton, at a function celebrating NSAD’s milestone in Wellington on November 8.

Mr Terence FitzGerald, NSAD’s Chairman says “it is a remarkable achievement for any voluntary organisation to deliver 50 years of uninterrupted services to the public.

”More than 70,000 New Zealanders have received support, treatment and rehabilitation services from NSAD, a service which for most of its history has been reliant upon public donations.”

Through Care NZ, the society’s fully-owned operating arm, eight outpatient treatment clinics are run throughout the North Island. A school- based education programme is also underway in the Waikato, and in partnership with the Department of Corrections, drug treatment units are operating at Arohata Women’s Prison in Wellington and Waikeria Men’s Prison in Te Awamutu.

The society was co-founded in 1954 by Mr Jock Caughey, a professor of neurology, and Mr Ian McEwan; the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in New Zealand. Mr McEwan, himself a severe alcoholic, recognised the need for alcohol related counseling, education, treatment and rehabilitation.

For its first 14 years the society was known as the National Society on Alcoholism (NSA), and concerned only with the abuse of alcohol, since other drugs of abuse were not prevalent.

This has since changed, as has the breadth of work done by the society. Initially the main focus was on education and prevention, but since the mid-1960’s an emphasis on the provision of clinical treatment has developed.

“NSAD has a proud history, and we will continue to aim to minimise the impact of substance abuse and dependence on the lives of New Zealanders, for at least another 50 years”, Mr FitzGerald said.



Annually, over 2,200 new clients see Care NZ’s drug and alcohol counsellors and specialists throughout the country Since NSAD’s inception in 1954, it has helped over 70,000 people 75% of illicit drug users are in employment 82% of 14-17 year olds drink regularly 27% deaths in NZ are alcohol related 80% of inmates in prisons are affected by drug abuse In 2002 the cost to New Zealand businesses of drug and alcohol abuse was estimated at $140 million, exclusive of its contribution to workplace accidents and injuries


Founded in 1954 in recognition of a need for alcohol related counselling, education, treatment & rehabilitation Initially known as the National Society on Alcoholism (NSA) Became known as the National Society on Alcohol & Drug Dependence (NSAD) in 1972 NSAD is New Zealand’s largest and second-oldest voluntary organisation in its field NSAD focuses on four key areas: community, youth, workplace and health In 1999, NSAD created an fully-owned operating arm, Care NZ, which provides services for people affected by drug and alcohol abuse and dependence in NZ Care NZ was incorporated as a charitable company on 1 January 2000 Care NZ runs outpatients clinics in the North Island and has a network of counsellors throughout the South Island, Care NZ has established drug treatment units at the Arohata Women’s Prison in Wellington and Waikeria Men’s Prison in Te Awamutu, in partnership with the Department of Corrections A school-based programme is being piloted in Waikato NSAD raises the majority of funds required for its operation privately Care NZ’s funding is derived from contracts for service with DHBs, the Ministry of Health, Department of Corrections, and private funders. Care NZ’s website,, provides an online self-assessment and online counselling – a New Zealand first for substance abuse and dependency Care NZ’s clinical staff comply with the Practitioner Competencies for Alcohol and Drug Workers as published by ALAC (Alcohol Liquor Advisory Council)

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DIRECTORY The Chief Executive of Care NZ is Tim Harding; Phone: 04 0274 306 669; email

The Chairman of NSAD is: Terence Fitzgerald; Phone 04 233 2344, email

The Board of NSAD is: Bill Nathan, Everard Aspell, Hon Max Bradford, Dr David Bratt, Lawrie Bryant, Lorraine Christie, Rob Greenfield, Tim Harding, Hugh Johnston, Roger Miller and Judi Weir

Care NZ’s website address is NSAD’s website address is

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