1979 - 2009
For many years, the only services available for the management of alcohol addiction were voluntary ones, notably AA and the Bridge programme of the Salvation Army. The National Society on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NSAD) - also voluntary - lobbied successive governments for provision of treatment services as part of the public health system. Sir Charles Burns was Clinical Director of NSAD 1970 - 1981 and was a tireless worker for the cause. The lobbying eventually paid off with the establishment of the Alcoholic Liquor Advisory Council (ALAC) in 1977.
Alcohol and drug dependence treatment services began in Wellington in 1970, under the auspices of NSAD. Initially there was no government funding for these services. Methadone clinics were established in Wellington and in Christchurch in 1972 and the respective hospital boards provided medical officers.
At the instigation of ALAC, hospital boards started their own A&D services and the first of these was in Wellington. To get this service established in 1979, the Wellington Hospital Board recruited Dr John Moon from Australia. He was the foundation Medical Director and was assisted by Drs Edwin Whiteside and GP Dr Paddy Delany. Dr Geoff Robinson took over as Medical Director in December 1980. Geoff continued in this role until 2002. Geoff remained in charge of the 4-bed Detox Unit based at Kenepuru Hospital since 1982. The initial A&D unit was based in Adelaide Rd but moved to Pipitea House in Thorndon in 1998.
During the thirty years of its existence, the A&D unit has been staffed by a number of psychiatrists, including Drs Joanna Macdonald, Mike Stones and John Marks. The current psychiatric staff comprise Drs Tom Flewett, Jeremy McMinn and Amanda Redvers.