Drinking teens tell all


Some Central Otago youth are drinking several times a week and will consume over a bottle of wine, over a dozen stubbies of beer and up to half a bottle of spirits over a night, a survey has found.

The Central Otago District Council has carried out a Facebook survey called "Getting on it" to gauge attitudes towards alcohol and consumption behaviour of young people in the region.

The survey attracted 120 respondents aged between 15 and 34 and was sent out to schools, youth groups and public health networks - five per cent of people aged between 15 and 34 living within the Central Otago district.

The survey has formed part of a larger research effort into canvassing the perceptions of Central Otago people to shape the draft alcohol policy required under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

The survey found young people believed the drinking culture was responsible for most alcohol-related harm, and most problems caused by alcohol happen on the

streets, followed by in the motor vehicle then at home.

Respondents were asked dozens of questions, including how often they drank alcohol, what they normally drink, how many drinks they would consume during a sitting, if they have experienced harm while drinking, ways to reduce alcohol related harm and if they believed shutting bars earlier or later would reduce harm.

Of the 91 respondents aged between 18 and 24, two thirds indicated they drank once a week or more, 42.9 per cent normally drank beer, then RTDs, spirits then wine.

Of the beer drinkers, the majority (40 per cent) drank between 11 and 15 stubbies in a sitting, up to 10 would be consumed before going out to a pub, club or bar.

Of the wine drinkers, 46 per cent normally drank a bottle while 31 per cent drank more than a bottle. Not one person indicated they would only drink one glass. All the wine would be consumed before going out, the survey shows.

Of the RTD drinkers, nearly 60 per cent drank between six and 10 bottles and those who drank spirits, 60 per cent indicated they drank between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of a bottle on one occasion - all before going out.

When asked whether shutting the pubs later would reduce alcohol related harm and/or problems, 60 per cent of 18-24- year-olds said it wouldn't and more than 70 per cent of 25-34 years olds said it wouldn't.

Respondents in both age groups also believed people would get more drunk, stay out later and possibly cause more harm.

Providing controlled environments for people to drink in as well as more events was the most popular way young people believed that would reduce alcohol related harm.

Other ideas included harsher punishment for alcohol related incidents, providing a coach or taxi service, stronger policing and raising the drinking age.

Health Promotion Agency (HPA) general manager policy, research and advice Dr Andrew Hearn said while a small self select survey of this nature could be useful in painting the local picture - the results could not be generalised.

"Local information on attitudes and behaviours around alcohol are often difficult to obtain so it is good to see councils using innovative ways to get such information to feed into local alcohol policies."

The Mirror