Community treatment services

Information about services in the community to help with alcohol or drug problems for yourself or someone you care about.

Who it’s suitable for: If you’re wanting to reduce harm from alcohol and other drug use, achieve recovery, and reduce stigma.

What to expect: Services range from individual or group counselling; medication assisted treatment; peer support services; intensive out-patient programmes, or Court referral to a drink-drive intervention programme.

Provided by: Your local DHB's community alcohol and drug services (CADS), NGOs (non-governmental organisations), or private providers.

Services won’t be able to help you if you contact them while you are intoxicated. In crisis? If you are really sick, or concerned about someone’s condition call 111, ask for an ambulance.

Choose what works for you

You may be  able to receive support from several services at the same time. For example, you may seeing a counsellor or attending a peer-support group, and want to phone a helpline counsellor when you need to.

Some services have waiting times, however, other supports can be put in place while you wait so don’t be put off making contact. If you are told you'll be put on a waiting list, ask what they can suggest while you wait.

On this page:

Freephone, text or online chat

Who it’s suitable for: If you want to talk to someone and get confidential advice.

Provided by: NGOs.

What to expect: Trained staff will ask you about the substances you use, your concerns and desires for change. They will suggest which treatment services may be helpful, and can arrange an appointment with a specialist treatment service provider.

Cost: Free.

How to access: Contact the service directly using the freephone, text or web chat.


Who it's suitable for: You would like to work one-to-one with a counsellor.

What to expect: The counsellor can help you make the changes you want to make, and also help you get into other treatment.

Provided by: DHB, NGOs, private counselling services.

Cost: DHB and NGO services are free. Private practitioners charge a fee. If you're unsure, ask if there is a fee.

How to access: Contact one of these community services to help you get treatment for your alcohol or drug use:

Detox (withdrawal management)

Who it’s suitable for: If you’re wanting to stop using alcohol or drugs after regular, heavy use.

What to expect: Detox generally has some form of withdrawal symptoms. For most substances, symptoms last 1–2 weeks. Depending on the substance, many symptoms can be safely managed without the use of medication, or specialist medical/ nursing input. Read about common withdrawal symptoms from drugs.

When specialist addiction services are required: Withdrawal management is best managed by specialist addiction services when withdrawal symptoms are:

  • potentially intense
  • life threatening and/ or
  • the person going through withdrawal has co-existing problems.

Provided by: DHBs, and some NGOs. (In high-risk situations, withdrawal management may be provided in a specialist hospital unit.)

Cost: Free.

How to access: Ask your GP to help you  find a service provider or contact the CADS (addiction services) at your local DHB or hospital: Find my DHB

Waiting times: If you're told that a service has a waiting time, don’t let this put you off making contact. Other supports can be put in place while you wait so ask the service what they can suggest. 

Peer group support

Who it's suitable for: If you think you would like to be supported by others who have had a drug problem and are working hard to not use drugs or alcohol.

What to expect: Meet with others to share experiences and strategies for managing recovery. Read more about peer support and watch a video about what happens at a meeting here on the Drug Help website.

Provided by: Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

Cost: Free.

How to access:

Group session

Who it's suitable for: If you would like to know more about the effects of alcohol and drugs and talk to other people about these.

What to expect:  Group sessions with the opportunity to also have one-to-one counselling sessions.

Provided by: DHBs, NGOs, private counselling services.

Cost: Free.

How to access: Contact CADS (addiction services) at your local DHB or hospital: Find my DHB

Day programme

Who it's suitable for: If you need intensive support with your alcohol or drug problem but a residential live-in programme is not suitable for you.

What to expect: The day programme (sometimes called an intensive out-patient programme – IOP) can include 3–4 group sessions every week, for up to eight weeks.

Provided by: DHBs, NGOs

Cost: Free.

How to access: To be put in contact with a service provider, contact:

Opioid substitution treatment

Who it's suitable for: If you want to come off drugs like homebake, codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and oxycontin.

What to expect:  

Provided by: DHBs, NGOs, some GPs

Cost: Free.

How to access: Ask for a referral from your GP or contact CADS (addiction services) at your local DHB or hospital: Find my DHB

Drink/drug driving intervention programme

Who it’s suitable for: If you are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Your legal advisor may suggest you attend a course before your court appearance, or a court judge or probation officer may direct you to attend a course.

What to expect: Attend a weekly group session for 6–8 weeks.

Provided by: Various organisations in some regions of New Zealand.

How to access: To find out what courses are available, contact:

Cost: Varies, depending on the provider. Always ask if there is a cost.


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