When you come in for your first appointment or drop in to your first clinic you will be introduced to a counsellor. Your trained Alcohol and Drug Counsellor will then talk to you about your general health, your drinking and/or drug-taking history and your current concerns.

We’ll talk about how you think we can help you and look at a plan to help you make the changes you need to make. This plan may include:

  • Written material
  • Referring you to an appropriate support group
  • One to one counselling
  • Referring you to another part of the service.

You may want to take away the information and contact us within two weeks to confirm what you want to do.

CADS can offer you one to one counselling, support and information groups by professional alcohol and drug treatment counsellors, clinicians and staff. It’s our job to give you the very best advice, support and direction that we can.

After the first conversation we may suggest you visit one of our specialist services, such as CADS Mt Eden or Medical Detox.

Sometimes it's tricky to know what the problem is or in fact if there really is a problem. CADS will help you work out any problems you might be having and then help you make a plan to reduce the harm those problems may be causing.

CADS provides services to both people who use substances and people whose lives are affected by someone else’s use. This includes:

  • Friends and family groups
  • One to one counselling
  • Attending assessments and counselling with loved one
  • Concerned others are also welcome to ring CADS to talk through their concerns.

When you make contact with Community Alcohol and Drug Services (CADS) Auckland, one of our trained alcohol and other drug clinicians will talk with you about your concerns.

Together you will identify the next step. This usually includes having a more in-depth conversation to complete a professional assessment of your current situation. From here you can develop a strategy for the future.

We will give you the most up-to-date information on treatment options and other services that suit your needs. We also offer support and information to friends, family members and health, social and education professionals.

Click here to Email Us now at CADS or call us on 09-845-1818.

We know how scary it can be to make the first call. We provide one phone number for you to make an appointment to see a counsellor at the CADS clinic nearest you.

You can drop into one of our CADS clinics during clinic hours from 10.00am to 1.00pm Monday to Friday without an appointment. Your doctor or health professional can also refer you to CADS.

For media enquiries, please click here.

Please contact Maxx on 09 366 6400 or go to http://www.maxx.co.nz/ for information on public transport access to your nearest CADS unit.

  • Monday-Friday: 10am - 1pm
  • Saturday, Sunday, & Public Holidays: 9am - 12 Noon

At CADS we understand that it can sometimes be really hard to change the way you drink or take drugs.  We help you to make those changes by offering you our discreet free support, information, counselling and treatment services.

For those who prefer to talk to people of similar ethnic backgrounds we have a Maori Service Te Atea Marino, a Pacific Service Tupu and an Asian Service.  Our Rainbow Service recognises the specific needs of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Takataapui and Fa’afafine communities.  You may also be in need of our medically based Detoxification or opioid substitution treatment services.

Whatever your needs we’re here to help you.

Many people are concerned that others should not know about their contact with our service, so we take special care to protect the health information you give us.

"Harm Reduction" is a term used to describe what we at CADS work to achieve with you, our client, and forms a part of the New Zealand National Drug Policy Harm Minimisation Treatment Continuum (description follows):

Harm Minimisation - A Continuum of Intervention Strategies
(Adapted from the New Zealand National Drug Policy Definition of Harm Minimisation)

"Harm Minimisation" does not dictate a particular legal, preventative, or treatment approach. Prohibition, legalisation, abstinence or responsible drug use are all legitimate Harm Minimisation approaches. Harm minimisation provides a range of treatment options to choose from. CADS can work with you at almost any treatment assistance level, from Abstinence (if this is your goal) right through to Harm Reduction (see chart below).

Harm minimisation is a pragmatic public health and societal welfare-based policy. It accepts without moral judgement the fact that some forms of drug use will probably always occur in our society. It recognises that different Harm Minimisation approaches are appropriate for different drugs, people and situations. A Harm Minimisation focus also facilitates more readily achievable goals, and recognises the broad societal consequences of drug-related harm.

Harm Minimisation does not imply safety, but reduced risk. It is also, incorrectly, seen as generally condoning or facilitating drug use, and preventing prohibition or abstinence approaches, which it does not do.

Harm Minimisation Intervention Options:

Based on:

(a) What is the level of Intervention required by the client?
(b) What is the progression of Intervention desired by the client?

Abstinence No substance use

Primary Prevention & Education This intervention aims to prevent drug use from occurring. Strategies include education, information, community education via media and sponsorship, community development initiatives, and legislation.

Secondary prevention This intervention aims to prevent drug use problems by identifying and modifying potentially harmful drug use. Strategies include information campaigns on upper limit levels of adult alcohol consumption, working with individuals, families, schools, youth groups or peer networks, and Brief Intervention.

Tertiary prevention This intervention aims to prevent drug use problems from getting any worse and causing even further harm. Strategies are aimed at people who present with an identifiable drug dependency, and includes drug treatment and rehabilitation, detoxification, counselling, substitute therapy (eg methadone, nicotine patches), family therapy, and self-help groups. The goals of treatment typically include either the reduction or eventual termination of drug use over time.

Harm reduction This intervention is aimed toward the active drug user who may not wish to engage in a Tertiary Prevention intervention. Some examples of Harm Reduction interventions include Needle Exchanges programmes, reduced-risk sex education, and reduced-risk substance use practices.

We appreciate your interest in CADS as your student placement. We are able to offer placements to students who are studying in Alcohol & Other Drug (AOD) graduate and post graduate courses. Please consider the following checklist:

  • I am enrolled in a Bachelors level or Post Graduate course.
  • There are AOD papers as part of this course that I have completed.
  • A portion of my placement hours can be completed in a group therapy setting.
  • I am available for a least two days a week on placement if I require 100+ clinical contact hours.
  • On finishing my course I will have completed the academic qualifications for a professional registration, e.g. DAPAANZ, Social Work.

To apply for a student placement, Email Us Now.


CADS employs clinical staff from a range of professional backgrounds. Most of our staff are Alcohol and Drug Practitioners or Nurses but we also employ people with other backgrounds such as social work, counselling, and psychology.

Generally, our preferred candidates for employment have:

  • A relevant Bachelor level qualification, e.g., in health or social science
  • An alcohol and drug specific qualification
  • A relevant professional registration or membership

Alcohol & Drug Specific Qualifications

The education institutions that provide alcohol and drug specific qualifications in Auckland are:

Auckland University of Technology (AUT)
Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec)
University of Auckland
The National Addiction Centre (Christchurch) and Massey University (Palmerston North) also provide qualifications that can be completed through distance learning.

Professional Registrations or Memberships

We encourage and support staff to be aligned with the professional body that matches their training and career path. For example, Nurses will be registered with the Nursing Council of New Zealand, Counsellors will be members of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors. Many of our staff are registered with the Addiction Practitioner Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (DAPAANZ). You can check out the DAPAANZ website http://www.dapaanz.org.nz/ for information about how to join, as well as about alcohol and drug specific training programmes.

All positions available at CADS are advertised through the Auckland Health Careers website http://www.aucklandhealthjobs.co.nz/.

Auckland Opioid Treatment Service (AOTS) prescribes the Biodone Forte brand of methadone which contains methadone 5mg in 1 ml. It is colourless, sugarless and contains no additives other than methadone powder and sterile water.

Wait times for treatment will vary from a few days to several weeks. This is usually dependent on doctor availability and how many people are seeking treatment. The nurse at your local AOTS unit will be able to give you some idea of wait times, if any.

In NZ  the buprenorphine:naloxone preparation is a sublingual tablet that is placed under the tongue and it dissolves in up to 10 minutes depending on the dose size. It has no/little effect if it is swallowed.

The naloxone has been added to deter injecting. It has no effect when used as prescribed (ie sublingually/under the tongue) but if injected the naloxone can put you into withdrawal as it overrides the buprenorphine.

Advantages of buprenorphine:naloxone include:

  • it's an alternative to methadone as not everyone likes taking methadone
  • A feeling of being more clear-headed, less ‘cloudy’ than with methadone (though not everyone likes that clear-headed feeling)
  • You can be dosed on alternate days e.g. you might get double doses to take on Monday, a double dose to take on Wednesday and a triple dose to take on Friday. There’s no need for takeaway doses.
  • It’s less risky than methadone in overdose if it’s the only drug taken

If you are already on methadone you can transfer to bup. Talk to your doctor about how to do this.



CADS invites feedback including complaints as its one of the ways to review and improve our service. There is always someone you can complain to. If you feel put off by the first staff member you speak to, there are others in the service who are available to assist you.

  • Your complaint doesn’t have to be in writing. You can tell somebody you want to make a complaint and they can record this for you.
  • You don't have to give your name when making a complaint but there are some downsides to this: it means the service may not then have all the relevant information it needs to find out what happened and why, and you don't get to find out the service's response to your complaint.

What happens with your complaint?

  • Your complaint goes to the manager of the service you are complaining about.
  • The manager will send you an acknowledgement letter within 2 working days of their receiving the complaint.
  • The manager has 14 days to investigate and respond to your complaint. If you are a CADS client, the investigation may include reviewing your file and talking to you and/ or any staff involved.
  • If it's going to take longer than 14 days the manager will let you know.
  • Their response to you will generally include a summary of your complaint, the findings of their investigation, and what they're going to do as a result of your complaint.
  • If you're unhappy with the outcome of your complaint you can write to the WDHB Chief Executive Officer (CEO). You can also contact the Health and Disability Commissioner.
  • If you don't want to communicate through the WDHB process you can approach the Health and Disability Advocacy Service and/or the Health and Disability Commissioner's Office.

Suggestion or complaint?

  • If you have a concern but don't want to make a complaint, or you want to comment on something, feel free to contact any members of the Consumer Team on 815 5830, or use the suggestion boxes in each unit.

Your health information is kept confidential to authorised Waitemata District Health Board staff in accordance with relevant legislation (like the Health Information Privacy Code based on the Privacy act), however, information may be disclosed to others in situations like the following:

  • To your GP, specialist or other healthcare professionals involved in your ongoing care for treatment purposes, your general health and well-being or in the event of risk to yourself or others.
  • To government agencies when we are obliged or authorised by law to provide information, (e.g. ACC, the Police, CYFS, professional board)
  • When you ask that we make information available to others (e.g. family/whanau and friends).

Health information will only be disclosed in accordance with the provisions of the Health Information Privacy Code 1994.