Drug Use in New Zealand: Key results of the 2007/08 New Zealand Alcohol and Drug Use Survey

Published online: 
02 January 2010


This report presents the key findings about drug use and drug-related harm among New Zealand adults, from the 2007/08 New Zealand Alcohol and Drug Use Survey (NZADUS). The survey measured alcohol and drug use among over 6,500 New Zealanders aged 16–64 years from August 2007 to April 2008.

The report covers recreational drug use, other than alcohol and tobacco, including illegal drugs and drugs used for illicit purposes (such as diverted pharmaceuticals). A separate publication reporting survey findings about alcohol use by New Zealand adults, Alcohol Use in New Zealand, was released in October 2009.

In the report, the results about the use of 'any drugs' excludes the use of alcohol and tobacco, as well as BZP party pills (which were legal at the time of the survey).

Key findings from the report include:

  • Nearly one in two adults (49.0%) aged 16–64 years had ever used ‘any drugs’ for recreational purposes in their lifetime, equating to about 1,292,700 people. The majority of these people had used cannabis, with 46.4% of all people aged 16–64 years having used cannabis in their lifetime, representing 1,224,600 people.
  • In the past year, one in six (16.6%) adults had used ‘any drugs’ for recreational purposes, equating to 438,200 people.
  • Cannabis (14.6%), BZP party pills (5.6%), ecstasy (2.6%), amphetamines (2.1%) and LSD and other synthetic hallucinogens (1.3%) were the most common drugs used in the past year for recreational purposes.
  • Young people (16–34 years) and, after adjusting for age, men, people of European/Other and Māori ethnicity and people living in more deprived neighbourhoods were more likely than others to have used 'any drugs' in the past year
  • One in three (34.5%) past-year users of ‘any drugs’ reported having driven a car or another motor vehicle (such as a motorcycle or a boat) while feeling under the influence of drugs in the past year.
  • Some of the most common harmful effects experienced by past-year drug users in the previous year due to their own use of ‘any drugs’ were harmful effects on financial position (10.8%), friendships or social life (8.5%), home life (8.4%), work, study or employment opportunities (6.5%) and having had one or more days off work or school (7.2%). Overall, about one in five (18.6%) past-year drug users had experienced any harmful effect in the past year due to their drug use.

Publishing information

  • Date of publication:
    02 January 2010
  • Hardcopy date of publication:
    02 January 2010
  • ISBN:
    978-0-478-33995-6 (online)
  • HP number:
  • Citation:
    Ministry of Health. 2010. Drug Use in New Zealand: Key results of the 2007/08 New Zealand Alcohol and Drug Use Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Health
  • Ordering information:
    Only soft copy available to download
Back to top