Small group drink most - promoter

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 15/11/2012
drunken girls
MORE BINGING: Timaru girls are binge drinking more - in line with national statistics.

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South Canterbury teenagers admit some of their peers binge-drink, but not all.

Youth Alcohol and Other Drugs health promoter Kate Wehi said students she works with on high school SADD (Students Against Drink Driving) councils believed there was a binge-drinking problem among a proportion of teenagers in the community.

Ms Wehi said findings from a national survey, released this week, mirrored what high school students were telling her.

The national survey found the percentage of New Zealand females aged 16 and 17 binge drinking on a typical night out has tripled from 9 to 28 per cent between 1995 and 2011.

Ms Wehi has been part of a local survey to get an understanding of alcohol habits among district teenagers.

The national survey "mirrors" the results of the local survey, he said.

However, the drinking problem in South Canterbury was among a "select group" of teenagers, she said.

"It's sort of like a small group of young people doing it and the same groups that are drinking - that's in the students' eyes. It's definitely there. . . but it's not widespread."

She said her job is to encourage change in the drinking culture.

To do that she visits schools, talks to the students and introduces programmes to create more awareness of the harm alcohol can cause.

"We have an accreditation programme schools can pick up on. It works through a number of different stages to create more awareness around what alcohol is doing to young people, and create change in the community."

However, she said the problem would not improve unless restrictions were put on alcohol access.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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