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Alcohol Harm To Others Impacts Particularly On Children

Media Release – 20/3/12

Alcohol Harm To Others Impacts Particularly On Children

A conference on Thursday is a first for New Zealand. The “Babies, Children and Alcohol” conference at Te Papa, Wellington, is focused on the damage that alcohol is doing to New Zealand’s children and what can be done about it.

Click here to read the conference booklet

“It is one thing for people to take drugs which mainly harm themselves like tobacco, but when people take a drug like alcohol, which can cause so much harm to others, especially vulnerable babies and children, that’s another thing” said Professor Doug Sellman, one of the medical spokespeople for Alcohol Action NZ, the organisation behind this one-day conference on the topic of Babies, Children and Alcohol.

“It is surprising that while successful new regulations have been brought in by successive governments over the last 25 years to reduce tobacco-related harm, which primarily causes harm to the user, the most liberal approach in New Zealand’s drug history with alcohol has been not only maintained but encouraged. Smoking largely causes harm to the smoker whereas alcohol causes much more harm to innocent others, particularly children”

“On the day that this conference occurs, 200 alcohol-related physical and sexual assaults will occur in New Zealand. Some will directly impact on children and many will be in full view of children if not within ear-shot of them. In addition to the physical injuries, the fear that violence engenders in children can produce emotional scars for life, particularly when these events occur repeatedly, which of course is tragically often the case”.

“The government so far has shown woeful leadership in changing the heavy drinking culture through policy and legislation”, added Professor Geoff Robinson, another Alcohol Action spokesperson. “At this conference, the strength of the scientific evidence about how a society can reduce alcohol-related damage will be demonstrated with a particular focus on positive outcomes for children. The extent of public support for strong reforms to change the damaging drinking culture will also be presented.”

“Despite having all of this information the government is supporting a weak Alcohol Reform Bill” said Professor Jennie Connor. “It looks like the government is protecting the vested interests of the national and global alcohol industry ahead of the health and welfare of our most vulnerable citizens.”

ENDS

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