400 on invalid, sickness benefit for drugs, booze

Rotorua Daily Post 11 March 2012
More than 400 people in the region are collecting benefits because of substance abuse.

Benefit figures provided to The Daily Post show there are 89 people in Rotorua on the sickness benefit because of drug or alcohol issues affecting their ability to hold down a job, while there are 17 on the invalid’s benefit for the same reason.

Throughout the Bay of Plenty there are 381 people receiving the sickness benefit because of substance abuse and 82 on the invalid’s benefit.

Family First director Bob McCoskrie said liberal alcohol reforms had contributed to the problem.

“People need to know how much harm alcohol and drugs are causing in our communities,” he said.

“The taxpayer has a right to know we have a welfare system that holds them accountable.”