A visiting drug policy expert says doctors can do more to prevent people from becoming addicted to drugs.
Tom McLellan, a former adviser to the Obama administration, was the keynote speaker at a symposium in Wellington on treating drug addiction.
Professor McLellan says general practitioners in the United States are not trained to recognise or treat substance-use disorders before people develop full-blown addiction.
He says in the US substance-use disorders are generally not categorised as health issues.
The director of the National Addiction Centre, Professor Doug Sellman, says the treatment of addiction in New Zealand is hampered by its separation from the health service, especially general practitioners.