3.5 Alcohol and substance abuse
Estimates of the proportion of prisoners with a diagnosis or history of substance abuse are in the order of 80–90%. 1
Certain patterns of alcohol or drug use during adolescence are strongly associated with adverse outcomes. These include road traffic injuries, suicide, violence, foetal alcohol syndrome, and a range of serious health problems 2. A health survey carried out in 2002-2003 showed that Māori adults were more likely to engage in “hazardous drinking” patterns (defined as “… drinking that carries a high risk of future damage to physical or mental health”) 3. Similar findings have been obtained with Māori youth: when they drink, they tend to drink very heavily 4. Regular marijuana use is also signiﬁcantly more prevalent among Māori adults than among non-Māori adults. 5
1 Ombudsmen’s Investigation of the Department of Corrections in Relation to the Detention and Treatment of Prisoners, Dec 2005, p40.
2 Ministry of Health (2004) An Indication of New Zealanders' Health 2004.
4 Alcohol & Liquor Advisory Council (2005) New Zealand Drinking Trends, http://www.alac.org.nz/NZStatistic.aspx?PostingID=1187.
5 Ministry of Health (2004). An Indication of New Zealanders' Health 2004.