Booze bans encourage bad behaviour

Last updated 08:00 24/12/2012
tdn drunk stand
Fairfax NZ

GETTING MESSY: We need to create barriers to binge drinking, not total bans.

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How can we as a nation expect binge drinking to fix itself? The government passing bills that ban the sale of alcohol would only encourage things to go further underground, hence making it more unsafe.

We are a liberal country, and although many suggest an outright ban may be the answer, this is not the case. An outright ban - whether it be on the alcohol itself, taxis not accepting intoxicated people, declining people from hospitals - means help can not be provided to those who need it when in danger. Prostitution was legalised in New Zealand to ensure sex workers could be safer and get better healthcare. People's safety would be threatened with an outright alcohol ban.

Instead of bans, we should put in barriers. Drivers could be given breathalysers so that anyone who is intoxicated and catches a taxi or public transport would have to be charged more. Fines could be implemented for anyone seen overly intoxicated, so that taxpayers' money could go towards police enforcing a lower level of intoxication, rather than trying to enforce an outright ban. Not only would people quickly learn not to binge drink, but then they would have less money to spend on alcohol next time.

Lastly, if people were better informed on the effects of alcohol, it would be less likely to be abused. Addressing issues of drinking at high school is simply not enough anymore. Alcohol education needs to be introduced at a much younger age as by the time they reach their early teens, most children will have already tried some form of alcohol.

Bans simply encourage the bad behaviour. It's not the drinking or the alcohol itself, but our attitude towards it. Change the mindset, change New Zealand's drinking future.

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