Alcohol survey result a shock

NATASHA THYNE
Last updated 05:00 19/08/2014

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Timaru youths saying they do not need alcohol to have a good time came as a surprise to youth workers.

Two-thirds of young people, aged 12 to 24, who took part in the recent online Timaru District Youth Survey 2014, said drinking alcohol to have a good time and enjoy themselves was "not important at all".

Nearly 300 young people answered the survey, which consisted of 40 questions aimed at "taking the pulse of the district's youth" on a range of topics.

Youth Alley youth worker Cath Slee said that out of the 40 questions asked, the responses to "how important is drinking alcohol to being able to have a good time and enjoy yourself?" surprised her the most.

"All the events we have ever run [at Youth Alley] have been alcohol-free, so it's not something I've put too much thought into."

Of the age groups asked, only those in the 24-year-old bracket said it was more important to have alcohol to have a good time than not. Seventy-one per cent of 24-year-olds said drinking alcohol to have a good time was "somewhat important".

Eighty-six per cent of 12-year-olds asked said it was "not important at all" to drink to have a good time.

Fifty-two per cent of 17-year-olds said drinking alcohol was not important, while 37 per cent said it was "somewhat important".

Out of all of those asked, 2 per cent said drinking alcohol to have a good time was very important.

Slee said the results would be accurate as it was an anonymous survey.

Youth Alley is an organisation which offers a supportive adult to young people in the district aged 12 to 24; "walking alongside young people".

Slee said youth workers talk with the young people about safe practices with alcohol and depending on the what is needed, can link them with other agencies.

She said the results had been interesting as teens in the district had never before been asked such questions.

The other main health issues for young people in the district were drugs, smoking, mental health, legal highs and cyber safety.

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- The Timaru Herald

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