Drug problems: Why help is the best solution

Substance abuse is a social issue throughout New Zealand.
a road heads off into the distance with the word recovery stenciled into the road.

People use substances, both legal and illegal, for a number of reasons, including pleasure, belonging, bonding, coping, healing, escaping, or to improve performance.

So when you consider the long hours and the physical demands of fishing, it's no surprise impairment by drugs can be a problem at sea. As well as helping someone stay awake, numb the pain of injuries, or just pass the time, getting high can be a way of escaping reality.

The trouble is, it can be dangerous. Drugs can effect coordination and the ability to think and act quickly. A fishing vessel is already a hazardous work environment — and chances are, fatigue's an issue. Add drugs into the mix, and there's more of a risk of your crew (and your business) getting hurt.


The dilemma of drug addiction

Because drugs are addictive, if someone was high on meth this week, chances are they'll be high again next week. They might be able to hold things together for a while — and maybe even still put in a half‐decent day's work. But their cravings can lead to mood swings which can be dangerous on a fishing vessel.


Help is the answer

Would you rather someone told you they had a problem with drugs, or discover it by accident — and experience the shock of having been kept in the dark? Bear in mind that an accident caused by impairment can have tragic consequences.

Drug addiction is a health issue. It should be treated seriously and, if possible, with professional help. Addiction is a really hard problem, one that's usually too big for someone who is suffering to overcome alone.


How to support someone with a drug problem

It's important to talk openly about the dangers of impairment, and encourage your crew to confide in you if they have a problem with drugs. If someone needs help, here are a few options:

When you consider the risks of someone being impaired on board, offering help is the best solution. Not only could it save your business, your boat and your livelihood, it could save lives.


Make sure you know how to get help for your crew.


Face the facts

45,000 of New Zealanders receive support to reduce their alcohol or drug use each year, and this is estimated to be only one third of those who are experiencing problems with their use.

*NZ Drug Foundation