Auckland DHB calls for increase in legal drinking age

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Section
Health,
Publish Date
Sunday, 6 January 2019, 2:52p.m.
The call has been criticised by Spirits NZ. (Photo / NZ Herald)
The call has been criticised by Spirits NZ. (Photo / NZ Herald)

The Auckland District Health Board is the latest to join the growing list of DHBs wanting a crack down on booze.

15 DHB's now have their own varying position statements on alcohol harm.

Auckland is calling for changes like price hikes, restrictions on advertising and sponsorship, and an increase in the legal drinking age.

There are 47,000 people who drink hazardously within Auckland DHB's boundary, placing about one in four men in that category.

The DHB says alcohol has been normalised and largely accepted by society, and causes more harm than any other drug.

It says treating alcohol-related harm in hospitals requires significant staff time and resources, including security, as ED staff often face physical abuse from intoxicated patients and visitors.

However, Robert Brewer, CEO of Spirits NZ, says the proposed changes won't work.

"What they fail to do is look directly at who is most at risk, and then apply specific measures to help those specifically at risk from drinking too much to change the way they drink."

He says the whole population shouldn't be targeted.

"We're drinking 25 per cent less than our parent's generation did back in the 70s and 80s. In order to accelerate that, you have to be able to facilitate drinking environments that allow people to say 'No, I don't want to drink tonight'."

Brewer says while he's concerned by our drinking statistics, we need a more targeted approach to curb them.

 

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