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Substance Addiction (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment Act) 2017 (SACAT)

Substance Addiction (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment Act) 2017 (SACAT)




The Substance Addiction (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment Act) 2017 (SACAT) is new legislation which will provide for the compulsory assessment and treatment of people who are considered to have a severe substance addiction. Compulsory assessment and treatment is a last resort and the Act can only be used after all other options have been tried without success.


SACAT replaced the out-of-date Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Act 1966 (the ADA Act) on 21 February 2018.


The aims of compulsory assessment and treatment are to:

  • Protect the person from harm; and

  • Allow a comprehensive assessment of their addiction; and

  • Stabilise their health (including medically managed withdrawal); and

  • Protect and enhance their mana and dignity and restore their capacity to make informed decisions; and

  • Facilitate continued treatment and care on a voluntary basis; and

  • Provide an opportunity to engage in voluntary addiction treatment.


Having severe addiction and the inability to make decisions about engaging in treatment for addiction are two essential features for using the Act with someone.


What are the specific criteria that must be met in order to use this legislation?

  • The person must have a severe addiction problem which places them in immediate danger of serious harm and severely impacts their ability to care for themselves, and

  • The person must be unable to understand, remember and to make decisions about the treatment options available for their substance use, and

  • All other options have been exhausted and compulsory treatment is necessary, and

  • Suitable treatment is available.


How do I make an application?


For more information on SACAT


You can also get information and support for yourself and your whānau from:


Alcohol Drug Helpline

  • Phone 0800 787 797

  • Text 8681


Al-Anon Family Groups


Kina Families and Addictions Trust


The Familial Trust


Supporting Families


Drug Help


Helpful resources

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