Doctors sound alarm over NZ's heavy drinking culture

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 19 Jan 2021, 12:39PM
Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

Doctors sound alarm over NZ's heavy drinking culture

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 19 Jan 2021, 12:39PM

Hazardous drinking rates jumped over the Covid-19 lockdown last year, says Alcohol Healthwatch executive director Dr Nicki Jackson.

Her claims are backed up by the Ministry of Health's data on emergency department attendances.

The number of attendances in May 2020 was higher by 200 visits than a year earlier, with roughly 400 more visits in both June and July.

"Twenty per cent of New Zealanders increased their consumption at level 4 lockdown, at level 1 that reduced to about 14 per cent," Jackson said.

"Not everyone who drank heavily over lockdown sustained that, which was great, but for Māori, 22 per cent drank more during lockdown and 22 per cent drank more after than before."

Young people don't drink as much as they used to, but they still do dangerously.

Nicki Jackson says there are pockets of people in the  18 to 24 age bracket drinking less, although they're typically the heaviest drinkers.

But she told Kate Hawkesby there's a problem with middle aged and older adults.

"These generations haven't cut back as they get older, which is a problem."