Tougher alcohol enforcement called for
MEDIA RELEASE TO:
All Health Reporters/Chief Executives/Press Officers
FROM: Dr Ross Boswell, NZMA Chairman
DATE: Wednesday, 26 April 2006
SUBJECT: Tougher alcohol enforcement called for
A recent police crack-down in Auckland confirms that tougher enforcement of laws regarding underage drinkers is needed, says the New Zealand Medical Association.
The police operation revealed that more than one third of the bars and bottle stores visited sold alcohol to minors without checking their identification.
"Since the lowering of the legal drinking age in 1999, there have been reports of increased alcohol consumption by young people, leading to increased anti-social or at-risk behaviour, vehicle accidents and hospital admissions," said NZMA Chairman Dr Ross Boswell.
"The recent police swoop confirms that the law, as it stands, is not being taken seriously by some bar and bottle store managers. This is a major concern as it appears that young people have extremely ready access to alcohol, despite legal restrictions.
"If the current law was policed more stringently, young people would find it more difficult to obtain alcohol and these problems would decrease."
The Sale of Liquor (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill, currently before Parliament, fails to address many of the issues surrounding youth drinking in New Zealand, and as such, represents a missed opportunity.
Better education of young people about alcohol related harm is also vital, Dr Boswell said.