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Waking Up Young Drinkers To Bingeing's Effects

Waking Up Young Drinkers To Bingeing's Effects

6 November 2007, Alcohol Advisory Council

Harmful and hazardous "binge drinking" is a particular problem for young drinkers in New Zealand because many have not yet recognised the problems it is causing them, and probably won't until it is too late.

Sue Paton, The Alcohol Advisory Council's Manager of Early Intervention, and contractor Michael Bird spoke today at the combined Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD) and Cutting Edge Addiction Conference in Auckland. The pair have piloted a resource designed to appeal to young drinkers (under 29) who may not yet realise they are drinking at hazardous levels.

Sue Paton said young binge drinkers are particularly hard to reach because they are enjoying their drinking and can be oblivious to its effects.

"Many are starting to experience problems in their lives caused by alcohol, but they haven't yet associated those problems with their drinking behaviour. There's very little in the way of services available to help young people address their drinking, or even to help them see they have a problem.

"Our DVD resource helps by confronting young drinkers with people they can relate to who are willing to admit their anger, violent behaviour, relationship difficulties or loss of sporting ability have been caused by bingeing on booze. Then the penny often drops as the parallels with their own lives become apparent."

Research for the resource has largely been based on calls by young drinkers to the Alcohol and Drug Helpline. Some call worried by recent events in their own lives, such as brushes with police, out-of-control behaviour or deteriorating relationships.

"The problem is that many young people have been drinking at hazardous levels for so long and the issues in their lives have not been dealt with," says Sue Paton

"When your life starts to crash and burn all around you, it can be a great motivator for change, but we need to get young people to think seriously about their drinking before that happens."

This DVD resource will add to the resources available to those working with young people seeking assistance in a variety of areas including alcohol.

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BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

• 36 percent of hazardous drinkers are under 30 according to Research NZ 2007 and the Alac Alcohol Monitor - Adults and Youth 2006-2007 Drinking Behaviours Report

• New Zealand’s 15-24 year age group (both male and female) has the highest proportion of drinkers with potentially hazardous drinking patterns and that this hazardous pattern decreased with age, according to the Ministry of Health (A Portrait of Health : Key results of the 2002/03 New Zealand Health Survey Public Health Intelligence Occasional Bulletin No 21,August 2004)

• Those aged 10-24 incur the greatest proportion of alcohol related harm (DRINKING IN NEW ZEALAND : National Surveys Comparison 1995 & 2000 / Ruth Habgood, Sally Casswell, Megan Pledger and Krishna Bhatta . APHRU, 2001).

ends


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