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Commission Welcomes Addiction Booklet

Media release
6 November 2008

Commission Welcomes Addiction Booklet

The Mental Health Commission welcomes publication of a new guide to addiction issues as timely and relevant.

The booklet Investing in Addiction Treatment: a resource for funders, planners, purchasers and policy makers was launched today by Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton.

The booklet was produced by the National Committee for Addiction Treatment (NCAT).

Chair Commissioner Peter McGeorge says the booklet highlights the complex issues involved in the experience and treatment of addiction.

“Addiction goes hand in hand with so many other things, such as physical and mental illness. Coexisting disorders are the norm, not the exception, when it comes to treating addiction.

“This publication complements the policy work that’s gone on elsewhere and reinforces the idea that people need access to treatment across a broad spectrum of services, based on concepts of wellbeing and recovery.”

Statistics from Te Rau Hinengaro: the New Zealand Mental Health Survey (2006) suggest that 29 percent of people with substance-use disorders also have a mood disorder, and 40 percent have an anxiety disorder

Dr McGeorge says working with people with coexisting mental health and addiction problems can be very challenging.

“Some people struggle to just get through the day because of their experiences of mental illness and addiction,” he says.

“For many it’s a real battle to hold down a job, maintain a relationship, remain in their home, stay out of jail and other institutions, and keep above the financial breadline.

“It’s difficult also for the people working in this field, as they are expected to provide the best possible care with limited resources.

“One of the problems the Commission has identified is the fact that clinical services are still largely separated along mental health and addiction lines. This is out of step with the reality of people’s lives and needs to change.”

Dr McGeorge says the Commission is promoting greater integration of services for people with coexisting needs by identifying barriers to integration and suggesting ways to overcome these.


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