Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Substance abuse - a growing reason for welfare dependence

Media Release

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The number of people on a sickness or invalid benefit, with a primary incapacity of substance abuse , has increased by 82 percent since 2002.

Welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell said that in June 2002 3,202 people relied on one of these benefits because of substance abuse. "Information just released to me from the Ministry of Social Development shows that number has risen to 5,838."

"During last year's election campaign people who work in this area told me that the problem was getting worse. These figures confirm that perception. Most of the increase has happened in the last two years."

"Sadly Maori are over-represented in the statistics once again. Of the 4,190 sickness beneficiaries with substance abuse as their primary incapacity, Maori account for 34 percent. "

"Geographically Canterbury has around ten percent of the country's total beneficiaries. But when it comes to reliance on an invalid's benefit for substance abuse it has 21 percent of the country's total."

The Ministry of Social Development says it works with these beneficiaries "...until all of the barriers to independence and employment are removed" but they cannot make clients undertake medical interventions.


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Lucy said...

"...until all of the barriers to independence and employment are removed" but they cannot make clients undertake medical interventions." Why not? Surely if you receive a benefit you have an obligation to do every thing you can to get better?

Anonymous said...

It's all a fucking sham. The easiest way to get a benefit no questions asked is to get "addicted" to some substance.
The A&D services actively encourage the so called "addict" in thier so called "addiction". It keeps these otherwise unemployable failed nurses in a job.

Anonymous said...

Lindsay, are you saying 66% of the problem ia Pakeha? Still you concerntrate only on the minority of people and of problem without acknowledging the problem isn't Brown, but White!

I see now why you failed at Uni.

If someone is on a benifit for drugs and that drug is a solvent. There is no way back. Those braincells have gone and the person has a couple of muddled years to exist.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Anon 2, Good point about solvent abuse. Around half of these people have alcohol problems. I don't what percentage have solvent abuse problems.

The reason I highlighted Maori is because in terms of rates per population they are far more likely to be substance abusers dependent on welfare than Pakeha. Pacific people on the other hand are under-represented at only 2 percent. So in your words it is more of a brown Maori problem than a brown Pacific problem.

It would be interesting to know why Pacific people are less likely to become dependent because other figures I have seen indicate they do account for around 5-6 percent of drug and alcohol patients. I am guessing that because their churches provide rehabilitation help they may have more success at staying in the workforce. Or it may be that they receive more family support.

But sure, there is a "white" problem too. That goes without saying I would have thought.

Anonymous said...

"But sure, there is a "white" problem too. That goes without saying I would have thought."

You might want to think on why you concerntrate on the minority of the problem rather than seeking the better return for your investment by fixing the majority of presumably 66%.