NZ Herald Mar 28, 2011
Children as young as nine are among hundreds of people under 16 being treated by specialist clinics for alcoholics and drug addicts in greater Auckland.
The number of children being treated by the region’s Community Alcohol and Drug Services increased by nearly 20 per cent to 382 last year. About half were treated for alcohol and the rest for cannabis and other drugs. A further 71 were treated at Waitemata District Health Board emergency departments for intoxication.
But CADS child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Grant Christie, an addictions specialist, believes the problem is far worse than the figures suggest. “The people who get to our service … probably represent 5 per cent of the problem,” he said. “Especially with the younger ones – they are here because they got caught by parents, teachers or police and were referred to us. All their mates who didn’t get caught, they were still drinking harmfully … ”