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Explore Challenges Acceptance Of Dangerous Binge Drinking Norms Amidst Crate Day Hype

With a binge drinking culture worse than Australia and the UK, and more than 1.2m adults in NZ at risk of their substance use becoming problematic, the PIVOT service offered by Explore is challenging the acceptance and glamorisation of binge drinking days such as Crate Day.

PIVOT is a leading early intervention service designed to help Kiwis who struggle with alcohol and substance misuse.

River Paton, PIVOT Specialist Service Manager, said, “Saturday’s Crate Day, an annual event where people are encouraged to consume an entire crate of 750ml beer bottles, raises serious questions about our society's relationship with alcohol. While the messages of "looking after yourself" are very clearly communicated, we would question whether these are strong enough to counteract the deeply ingrained culture of excessive and hazardous binge drinking that events like Crate Day celebrate.”

Binge drinking is a problem in New Zealand with recorded numbers higher than in Australia or the UK1. A New Zealand Medical Journal study released earlier this year examining emergency department alcohol-related admissions during Crate Day weekend in Waikato in 2019 and 2020 found that 100,000 people presented to the ED on those weekends, and the number of people in their early 20s doubled compared to a normal weekend.

Ms Paton added “These are statistics we shouldn’t be proud of, and we’re very concerned that events like Crate Day push the boundaries by promoting excessive alcohol intake, the social and health impacts of which are significant.

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“For us, the issue with Crate Day is not only the immediate risks associated with binge drinking but because many of our younger adults participate, it is likely to have a long-term negative impact on our relationship with alcohol, which, for many New Zealanders, is already very unhealthy - an estimated 1.2 million adults in New Zealand are at risk of their alcohol and drug use becoming problematic.

“Instead of promoting events that glorify excessive drinking, we should all be helping to break the cycle of alcohol harm, and rather than endorsing events which glorify excessive drinking, we should be supporting moderation, personal responsibility, and assisting people who are struggling to seek support when needed.

“It is crucial for individuals, communities, and policymakers to collectively address the root causes of problematic drinking behaviours and work towards creating an environment that supports healthier choices. At PIVOT we remain committed to raising awareness about the consequences of alcohol misuse and providing resources for those seeking help,” she says.

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