Video showing a drunk nine-year-old shocking for good reason
Video showing a drunk nine-year-old was shocking for
a good reason, UC expert
January 12, 2014
The video showing a drunk nine year old boy this week was shocking for a very good reason. Rare and sad events are shocking, University of Canterbury (UC) economist Dr Eric Crampton says.
Police say adults supplied a young Hamilton boy with alcohol. A video, posted on YouTube, showed the intoxicated boy slumped against a wall at the skate park. Police say the boy drank eight cans of seven per cent bourbon and cola and two shots.
Dr Campton says drunkenness among the very young is sufficiently rare that New Zealand has no official statistics on the issue.
However, Auckland University’s Youth ’12 Survey found that binge drinking among secondary students had almost halved from 2001 to 2012 and the Ministry of Health last year reported substantial declines in drinking among 15-17 year olds since 2006-7.
``Yesterday’s video likely has rather more to do with the increasing prevalence of cellphone video cameras than with any uptake in drinking among the very young,’’ Dr Campton says.
``The new year brought changes in legislation around the supply of alcohol to those under the age of 18, with fines of $2000 for supplying alcohol to minors without their parents’ permission and of $2000 for supplying alcohol in an irresponsible fashion.
``While several prominent anti-alcohol commenters have used this tragic case to argue for higher alcohol prices and broader restrictions on where alcohol can be sold, the overall statistics on youth drinking suggest that things are improving. It’s usually a mistake to base laws on specific incidents rather than on broader trends.
``I hope that the Police and Child and Family Services are able to help the child and ensure that the person providing alcohol and marijuana to a nine-year-old is dealt with appropriately.
``It would be pretty disappointing for the credibility of the laws around supplying minors if we can’t even fine people for giving large amounts of alcohol to nine-year-olds.”
Dr Crampton is a senior lecturer in economics at UC. He also advises the Brewers Association of Australia and New Zealand on alcohol economics and policy.