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New Alcohol Law A Timely Intervention

New Alcohol Law A Timely Intervention

New laws implemented under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, come into effect today (18 December 2013).

Waikato District Health Board medical officer of health Dr Richard Wall says with today’s implementation of the Act and the impending holiday season leading to potential overindulgence, we have a timely opportunity to review our relationship with alcohol.

“Because alcohol and alcohol marketing seems to be almost everywhere it has been too easy to take it for granted as part of everyday life,” said Dr Wall.

“It’s time we stopped treating alcohol as a commodity like bread or milk and started treating it like the powerful psychoactive drug or ‘legal high’ that it is.”

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act has come as a result of public pressure on the Government and represents a hardening in our attitude to alcohol.

“Many people think the Act doesn’t go nearly far enough but it does give us the opportunity to make a dent in the countless dollars alcohol harm costs New Zealand every year. If we work together on this we can make a difference,” said Waikato DHB health protection advisor Ross Henderson.

“The tightening of the laws about social supply to under-18-year-olds is an important step,” said Dr Wall.

Under the new law, consent of a parent or guardian is required before someone can give a person younger than 18 any alcohol. Anyone supplying to an underage person must put in place host responsibility measures and ensure they are properly supervised.

“This is an attempt to safeguard young people from serious and potentially long-term harm.

“There are compelling reasons for delaying the uptake of any drug use including alcohol.

“There is continued brain development between 15-18 years of age, and alcohol, like other drugs, affects the developing brain differently to the adult brain.”

Drinking alcohol from a young age leads to a greater likelihood of serious problems with alcohol later in life.

The safest option for children and young people under 18 years is to not drink alcohol at all.

“If you do decide to give your teenager alcohol you should never exceed the recommended limit for adults, which is two standard drinks for women and three standard drinks for men,” advised Dr Wall.

Mr Henderson reminds publicans and liquor outlets that rules and penalties for licensed premises have hardened as well, including irresponsible promotions, and sales to minors or intoxicated persons.

“Customers and patrons need to understand that when the bar staff refuse or cut alcohol service or insist on proper ID they are just doing their job. If they don’t they can lose their job or the licence,” he said.


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