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ALAC reacts to Justice Report on Purchase Age


ALAC reacts to Justice Report on Purchase Age

The Alcohol Advisory Council says it is not surprised by the findings of the just released Ministry of Justice report.

“There seems to be a perception that young people are drinking more,” says ALAC Chief Executive Officer Dr Mike MacAvoy.

“But what this report indicates - which is also consistent with our research - is that the number of young people drinking alcohol is not increasing, however, those that do drink appear to be drinking more frequently and consume higher volumes of alcohol.”

The report says it cannot be sure whether the changes in youth drinking can be attributed to the changes in legislation.

Some of the indicators have been influenced by other factors, such as changes in police practice or traffic enforcement, the report says.

Dr MacAvoy says ALAC opposed the lowering of the legal minimum age for buying alcohol from 20 to 18 in 1999.

“However, we must be very careful about calling for a return to 20 as it will not provide the ‘quick fix’ that some people might think.

“The report is right - a lot of other things have been going on in that time.”

Dr MacAvoy says binge drinking is often seen as the domain of youth.

“But research released by ALAC shows that we have a culture of binge drinking that is deeply entrenched in all sectors of our community.

“It is a concern across all age groups in our society and one that many agencies are working hard to address.”

Dr MacAvoy says if teenagers under 18 are accessing alcohol, there are then issues of supervision and of course supply.

“We have to question where they are getting the alcohol from. OK it may be legally supplied for example from parents but then there is the parents’ moral obligation to supervise these young people.”

ENDS


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