In 2023, dapaanz commissioned a review of the addiction workforce in Aotearoa to better understand its size and scope, as well as to gain insights into working conditions, factors contributing to poor retention, and opportunities to develop and grow the workforce.

Drawing on multiple datasets, both published and unpublished, the review (finalised in November 2023) drew from a range of sources, and included a series of workshops and discussions with sector representatives, as well as a distillation of findings from national and international literature.

For the purposes of the review, dapaanz defined the addiction workforce as comprising those specialist addiction practitioners who work exclusively with people seeking support and treatment to manage addiction related issues, inclusive of drug, alcohol, problem gambling and smoking, as well as those who care for them to help make recovery possible.

Inevitably, there were complicating factors in measuring and profiling the specialist addiction workforce in Aotearoa, not least the conflation of mental health and addiction services, with data collected by various health organisations often reporting on mental health and addiction as a single service type.

Notwithstanding these challenges, the triangulation of key information distilled from the multi-faceted review process provided a current general overview of what is known about the specialist addiction workforce in New Zealand.

In March 2024, dapaanz prepared a series of research snapshots providing a summary of the review across seven focus areas (see image below for the titles in the series, and scroll to the bottom of this post to view or download each of the snapshots).