Where do I get advice on how to quit smoking?

There are many organisations and agencies that can help you quit smoking or give you advice on how to quit.
Quitline NZ is a good starting point. Their free helpline (0800 778 778) is available 24 x 7. They can provide low-cost nicotine patches and gum, as well as support online, by phone or by text.

You can also order a free copy of The Quit Book, which will guide you through the process of giving up smoking. Your local pharmacist can advise you about nicotine replacement therapy (i.e. nicotine patches, gum, lozenges etc), or you can ask your doctor about prescription drugs which can reduce your nicotine craving.

Many other community health organisations offer free or subsidised smoking cessation programmes - your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help you find a programme near you.

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Where can I get help for alcohol and drug addiction?

If you need to speak to someone about alcohol or drug addiction (yours or someone else's), you can contact the Alcohol Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797, text 48681, or visit their website to chat online.

The Alcohol Drug Helpline also has special helplines for:

  • Maori - 0800 787 798
  • Pasifika - 0800 787 799
  • Young people - 0800 787 984

The above services are provided by trained counsellors.

The Alcohol Drug Helpline is available 24 x 7. It is run by the Alcohol Drug Association of New Zealand (ADANZ), who also run residential and day programmes for adults and young people dealing with addiction.

You can also find information to help you with your addiction on the Health Prevention Agency’s Alcohol website.

There are other organisations and individuals who can provide help with an alcohol or drug problem, from support groups through to residential programmes. You can check ADANZ's directory of treatment options or contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for help in finding a provider near you.

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I like to drink - does that mean I have a drinking problem?

If you think you might have a problem with alcohol but aren’t sure, it might be useful to go through the questions on the Health Prevention Agency’s Alcohol website.

The website also has information about how excess alcohol can affect your health and your relationships, and where you can get help if you decide that you have a problem and want to do something about it.

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Who can help me with my gambling problem?

Gambling Helpline New Zealand provides a 24-hour, freephone helpline for people who are concerned about their own or someone else’s gambling. You can call the helpline for counselling, advice, or a referral to other gambling support organisations. You can call the helpline on 0800 654 655 or text 8006.

The helpline also has specialist services for:

  • Maori - 0800 654 656
  • Pasifika - 0800 654 657
  • People with gambling debt problems - 0800 654 658
  • Youth - 0800 654 659

The Problem Gambling Foundation has a specialist Asian Family Hotline (0800 862 342) which provides phone counselling and advice in Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese. The Foundation also runs a general helpline for information, advice and referral (0800 664 262).

The Salvation Army provides free consultation and interventions for gamblers and people affected by problem gambling. To find out more call 0800 530 000.

There are a number of other organisations which can help people overcome an addiction to gambling - some are free and others are not. You can look on the Ministry of Health’s online directory or contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for help with finding a service near you.

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How can I help a friend with an addiction problem?

Most of the websites mentioned in the questions above include information for people who are concerned about someone else’s addiction.

Some organisations run support groups for families of people with addiction problems – e.g. Al-Anon for families of alcoholics.

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help you find a support group in your area.

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Can I force a family member get help for their addiction problem?

An individual can only be made to receive treatment for a substance addiction (eg alcohol or other drug) if: 

  • the addiction problem is severe;
  • that person’s capacity to make decisions about treatment for their addiction is severely impaired;
  • compulsory treatment of the person is necessary; and
  • appropriate treatment for the person is available .

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. You will need to get a medical certificate from a medication practitioner which states that the person fulfils the above criteria. 
  2. You can then make an application to the Area Directory of your District Health Board, who will arrange for the addicted person to be examined by a specialist. 
  3. If the specialist believes the criteria are met they will sign a compulsory treatment certificate. 
  4. The person will then be assigned a clinician, who will prepare a treatment plan, arrange for the person to be admitted to a treatment facility, and apply to the court for a compulsory treatment order.

The patient can be held for up to 56 days from the date that the compulsory treatment order is signed (but this can be extended for a further 56 days). The patient is released from the compulsory treatment order when the clinician makes the order in writing.

More about this is on the Ministry of Justice website.