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Think Before You Buy under 18’s Drink

Monday 6 December 2004

Think Before You Buy under 18’s Drink

A Tairawhiti awareness group is launching a dynamic public awareness campaign encouraging adults to stop and think about the consequences of buying and supplying alcohol to minors.

The campaign is being run by the Youth Access to Alcohol Group which includes representatives from Turanga Health, Ngati Porou Hauora Primary Health Organisation, Gisborne District Council, Police, YMCA and Tairawhiti District Health (TDH).

Member Susie Robertson from TDH’s Public Health Unit says the campaign is targeted at parents, relatives and older friends who buy alcohol for those under 18.

The campaign runs 13 December 2004 to 14 January 2005 and is timed to coincide with end-of-year parties, New Year’s Eve and the holiday season.

“We are hoping the campaign will encourage adults including parents and older teens to take responsibility and protect our youth.”

The legal alcohol purchase age in New Zealand is 18 years.

“Adults who supply teens with large quantities of alcohol are not doing anyone any favours. The consequences of supplying young people with copious amounts of alcohol can be tragic,” Ms Robertson said.

“Arrests, drinking and driving, hospitalisation and unwanted sexual relations leading to sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy, can be just some of the consequences.”

Ms Robertson said during the campaign anyone purchasing alcohol from the district’s liquor outlets will have their purchase packed into a bag carrying the message “Think Before You Buy Under 18’s Drink”.

Counter-top advertising and badges worn by liquor outlet staff will also bear the message.

At different times during the campaign Youth Access to Alcohol Group members will be outside liquor outlets giving away Christmas treats and information. A series of shock photos that have captured images of the consequences of teen access to alcohol will be visible on the mobile Drivewise trailer around town. Radio and newspaper advertising will also carry the messages.

Ms Robertson said a 2002 ALAC Youth Drinking Survey showed that 83% of young people under 18 got their alcohol from parents and friends. Only around 13 percent said they brought it themselves.

“Adults are part of the problem but they are also part of the solution. Modeling responsible drinking behaviour and supervising parties where alcohol is going to be consumed is the key.”

Parents and guardians should also be talking to their children about the possible consequences of drinking and giving them advice on how to stay safe.

“This campaign is not about blaming the young people for drinking, it is about adults taking some responsibility for what happens in Gisborne as a consequence of young people’s drinking.”

Ms Robertson said the Think Before You Buy Under 18’s Drink Campaign will be evaluated by APR consultants of Rotorua and a report released some time in mid-2005.

ENDS

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