Auckland, Thursday, June 01, 2006
Issued on the Authority of Colonel Robin Forsyth
Chief Secretary, The Salvation Army, New Zealand Fiji & Tonga Territory
Alcohol Free Day Has Support
The Associate Minister of Health, Hon Jim Anderton's call for an alcohol free day has received support from The Salvation Army
"Alcohol is a product that plays an important part in the celebration of life in New Zealand. But we do need to stop and reflect occasionally as a nation on the enormous damage being caused by the prevailing culture of alcohol use," said Major Campbell Roberts, Director of The Salvation Army Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit.
"Social and community services are frequently being asked to engage with families where the inappropriate use of alcohol leads to abuse, violence and the absence of basic necessities for healthy family living."
"The Salvation Army deals daily with the damage caused to individuals who, when they were younger, were exposed to patterns of alcohol use that has caused permanent damage to their social and cognitive functioning. We have real fears for the future of some young people whose patterns of binge drinking may lead to future health damage and addiction," said Major Roberts.
The Salvation Army Bridge Addiction Services sees the heavy cost on individuals, families and communities where people become addicted to alcohol. These individuals require extensive and expensive treatment options to deal with their addiction. There is a heavy economic and productivity cost for New Zealand during the development of an addiction and its treatment phase."
A national Alcohol Free Day where New Zealanders have the opportunity to reflect and be educated on the costs of abusing alcohol could only be beneficial. It would also give the country the opportunity to consider the relatively easy availability of alcohol, and whether the alcohol industry should be allowed to continue to have the impact and influence that it does on our national life and culture.