I've seen the 'social devastation' of alcohol

Last updated 14:30 10/02/2014

Does NZ need an alcohol overhaul?

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Does New Zealand need an overhaul on alcohol?

We've asked our readers to share their views and John Bebe says control and education are both needed.

Having worked in the ambulance service for 30 years, I have seen the short-term, long -term, personal, family and social devastation alcohol causes when its use is not controlled.

It is a drug and as such has the potential for positive and negative effects. It becomes very obvious, very quickly, that the positive effects come at lower, intermittent use, and the negative effects come with high regular use or abuse.

Effective control would limit those negative effects.

I suggest a public intoxication law with a fine, enforced treatment, and education for repeat offenders. This would target those individuals who tend to make a public, street-level problem.

It does nothing to address the home abuser, who is much harder to target.

I believe RTDs have played a great part in the recent upsurge of alcohol problems, particularly in the younger age group. This was an obvious ploy by suppliers to increase sales and profits, and reflects their true level of concern for the public good.

From observation I would suggest that the stimulants in RTDs result in more product being consumed and a more-heavily intoxicated and more active person, with the obvious increase in potential for harm.

The dollar cost is huge and surely is in no need of debate. The future healthcare costs associated with today's young and excessive abuse will be huge on both a personal and monetary level.

Why, if you could reduce the negative effects of this drug, would you not? 

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