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Teenagers Test Shoppers

Media Release

December 11, 2007

Teenagers Test Shoppers

Half of the shoppers in South Taranaki who were asked to buy alcohol for teenagers in a recent “shoulder tapping exercise” were happy to do so.

Two 18 year olds spent two hours outside an off license in Hawera asking shoppers to buy alcohol for them in the recent exercise.

This exercise was part of research being carried out by Taranaki District Health Board and Massey University’s Centre for Social Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation (SHORE).

The survey was done in collaboration with the managers of a South Taranaki off license premise. The purpose was to test the public to see if they had thought about the consequences of supplying a young person with alcohol.

Of the six shoppers approached by the 18 year olds, three were happy to purchase alcohol for them. “That’s not good enough,” Taranaki District Health Board Health Promoter Jason Matthews says. “We wanted to see if this was a method that under-age people could use to get alcohol and we were all surprised by the results.”

He says the shoppers did not ask the teenagers their age. “By purchasing alcohol for a stranger, you are not sure that they are 18 years old and you have no knowledge of how or in what circumstances the alcohol will be consumed. It could be passed on to a 12-year-old in the park or cause some sort of alcohol related harm”.

Mr Matthews says even though there have been a number of campaigns such as the Think Before you Buy Under 18s Drink the message is still not getting through and there is a need for improvement. Agencies and the community will need continue to work together to improve these results.

The Government is currently reviewing the sale and supply of alcohol to minors and has identified several key issues. The key proposals are:

• regulating social supply by creating an offence for adults (other than parents or guardians) to supply alcohol to a minor who consumes it in a public place;
• creating an infringement offence for a minor to supply alcohol to another minor who consumes it in a public place.
Recent national and international research also shows:
• parents are the main suppliers of alcohol to minors (around 60%);
• another 30% of supply is by friends and approximately 10% is purchased from licensed premises by minors themselves.


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