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Does Rugby Contribute To Drinking Culture?

Does Rugby Contribute To Our Play Hard Drink Hard Drinking Culture? press release

June 1 2005

The Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) has congratulated All Black and Crusaders rugby player Norm Maxwell for speaking out about his challenges relating to alcohol.

In a press interview Mr Maxwell said he was speaking out to raise awareness among other young men of the issues surrounding alcohol.

“However, what was most telling in his interview was Mr Maxwell’s comments that he is not an alcoholic but when he drinks he tended to drink the way ‘I learnt to drink – hard and fast’,” says ALAC Chief Executive Officer Dr Mike MacAvoy.

“Unfortunately it is this binge drinking pattern where the worst harms occur through accidents, assaults, unwanted sexual situations or relationship difficulties,” he says. “This sort of drinking generates the majority of health and social costs through intoxication, and in fact, the costs to the country from this type of drinking are much more than incurred through the dependent drinker.”

Dr MacAvoy says the question must also be asked as to where Mr Maxwell learnt his drinking habits.

“While everyone has to take some responsibility for their actions, we have seen a number of high profile rugby players getting into highly public incidents associated with alcohol intake.

“Is the culture in rugby such that it contributes to such behaviour? This question needs to be taken seriously. We know there is an enormous range of contributors to our drinking culture but undoubtedly there is a link between sport and alcohol.

“The question then becomes what are our sports administrators doing about this?”


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