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Ethnic differences in drug and alcohol use in NZ

Monday 5 November 2007

Ethnic differences in drug and alcohol use in NZ

Latest analysis from the New Zealand Mental Health Survey by Dr Elisabeth Wells from the University of Otago Christchurch, clarifies ethnic differences in drug and alcohol use and disorder in NZ.

The results are being presented at the Cutting Edge/APSAD Conference in Auckland on Monday November 5.

The survey carried out face-to-face interviews with 12,992 New Zealanders on a range of behaviours and conditions relating to mental health. It is part of the World Mental Health Survey Initiative which enables comparisons with other surveys in the consortium. New Zealand data was incorporated in a recently released report in the Lancet on the use of mental health services in 17 countries.

Key findings on NZ alcohol use in the past 12 months and ethnicity:

- Maori (82%) and Others (80%) are more likely to be drinkers than Pacific Islanders (56%)

- Maori also have a higher prevalence of hazardous drinking and alcohol disorder.

- Among those who consume alcohol, hazardous drinking occurs in 36% of Maori, 33% of Pacific people and 23% of others

- Among those who consume alcohol, alcohol disorder prevalence is 6% for Maori, 4% for Pacific and 3% for others.

Key findings on NZ drug use in the past 12 months and ethnicity:

- Drug use occurs in 20% of Maori, 13% of Others and 9% of Pacific people

- Drug disorder is most common in Maori at 13% of users, followed by Pacific Islanders at 10% and Others on 9%.

- Pacific people are often protected from substance use by abstinence, but are at greater risk than Others if they do use drugs.

Treatment contact for substance use disorder

- Treatment contact is low in those with a substance disorder: 4% for Pacific,12% for Maori, and 14% for Others.


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