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Inquiry delivers on the need for substantial alcohol reform

The report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction made public today has delivered key recommendations regarding the crisis of mental health and addiction in New Zealand. One of the most important of these is for the government to take a bolder approach to the sale and supply of alcohol.

“This is arguably the easiest and most effective intervention the government could enact in order to improve the well-being of New Zealanders” said Professor Doug Sellman, medical spokesperson for Alcohol Action NZ.

The report points out that the last three governments have been provided with numerous reports and advice documenting a comprehensive range of scientifically based actions to reduce alcohol-related harm, but no substantial action has been taken.

“The past three governments have virtually ignored all the main recommendations of the New Zealand Law Commission’s report of 2010, the outcome of the most comprehensive review of the state of alcohol in New Zealand”.

The Law Commission report advised dismantling advertising and sponsorship of alcohol, increasing the price, reducing accessibility, and raising the purchase age back up to age 20 years. He Ara Oranga recommends the present government finally takes action on each of these matters.

“This would have a very beneficial effect of reducing the amount of alcohol-related injury, violence, suicide, abuse, depression, chaos, mayhem, and array of associated mental health conditions that easily accessible, normalized alcohol use is inflicting on New Zealand families and communities”.

“Harm from alcohol was voiced over and over to the Inquiry Team, and is well documented in the report”.

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