More bullshit claims

April 30th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand’s high youth death rate among developed nations has been blamed in part on its alcohol-buying age of 18.

A leading suicide researcher, Dr Annette Beautrais, of Auckland University, said this “relatively low minimum ” was a more likely explanation than the better methods New Zealand has over some countries for recording and investigating deaths.

Oh bullshit. Why can’t people check the facts out. The prevalance of young people drinking has in fact been significantly dropping.

In 2006 the annual ALAC survey found 53% of 12 to 17 year olds were drinkers. In 2010 this figure had dropped to 32%. That is in fact a 40% relative reduction in the prevalance rate of youth drinking.

And if you go back to before the age dropped from 20 to 18, in 1997, 80% of 14 to 18 year olds were drinking alcohol despite it being illegal to purchase it. There is no direct data for the the same age range today, but the closest we have is 53% of 15 to 17 year olds were drinkers in 2010. Overall there looks to be fewer minors drinking today than when the purchase age was 20, and beyond doubt the rate has fallen massively since 2005.

Why does the Herald run a story that gives one side of the argument only, and  no dissenting views?

For the avoidance of doubt, of course alcohol is a factor in the suicides of some young people.  But that is a hugely different issue to whether or not the purchase age being 18, not 20, has changed the rate of youth suicides.

The same ALAC research incidentally found 60% of youth binge drinkers had their last drink at home or a family member’s home, and only 27% were at a friend’s house.  So the major supplier of alcohol to young drinkers tends to be family members, not 18 and 19 year olds.

The law change that is needed is to make it an offence to supply alcohol to minors, except with parental consent and in a responsible fashion. That is in the Alcohol Reform Bill, and should be supported strongly as a measure which will make a difference.

Scapegoating 18 and 19 year olds, and blaming them for youth suicides is not the answer, and is quite reprehensible.

Oh just spotted this at the end of the article:

Dr Beautrais said that, on its own, the split age was unlikely to have much impact on the suicide rate.

Oh my God. So even the source of the story says this, yet the headline is “Lower drinking age blamed for high rate of youth deaths”.

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24 Responses to “More bullshit claims”

  1. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    The Herald publishing unscientific drivel? Well, no surprise there then.

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  2. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    Courtney place looks pedestrian on a weekend I suppose?

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  3. Letterman (184 comments) says:

    1/ Price
    2/ Retail availability
    3/ Social supply
    4/ Lessons from neuro-science
    5/ Politicians with backbone

    From someone (me) who works with this sort of stuff first hand, not 3 parts removed:

    Read more here:

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B1KojhigB2E7MDBmOWI3MmYtZThlYi00MDEzLTk2NWMtYzRkMGU4NGI1OTAy/edit?hl=en&pli=1

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  4. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    I cannot stand all the moralising and bullshit from people who were once young themselves and have forgotten getting their hands on alcohol.

    I would wager that a relationship “break up” has more to do with suicides in NZ than booze or in fact almost any other cause. All these kids having spent their lives being told how special they are not coping with someone who didn’t see exactly how special they were.

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  5. RRM (9,919 comments) says:

    Tut-tutting is good for business…?

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  6. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    All these kids having spent their lives being told how special they are not coping with someone who didn’t see exactly how special they were.

    Isn’t that the truth. After being tipped from the education conveyer belt into young adulthood, and having beng taught that life is always fair, and that it’s wrong to compete, kids embrace alcohol at about the same time these ideas are dashed by the real world.

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  7. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    There is a whole branch of academics who dedicate their time to studying irrelevant subjects in order to advise govt on nannying citizens. Medical science has advanced in recent decades (bio-medical knowledge & engineering knowledge – medical devices/software , etc…) but bullshit disciplines have emerged, nothing useful but to contribute researches to Government nanny state. If the Govt gets out of our life & concentrate on its core role, privatize education, then we see all these bullshit disciplines disappeared.

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  8. Letterman (184 comments) says:

    Brian: Emotional resiliency (or lack of) is indeed a key indicator of how young people may cope with a situation. Trouble is, alcohol and drug use is no friend of the development or maintenance of same.

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  9. flipper (4,060 comments) says:

    It is all about the reincarnation of the temperance nazis.

    Davis (aka Clark) ran the programmes that spawned these academic idiots/zealots/nazis.
    Now we have media zealots.

    What sort of nadir have we descended to?

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  10. Letterman (184 comments) says:

    Falafulu:

    One of the many reasons I am in private practice :)

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  11. RRM (9,919 comments) says:

    All these kids having spent their lives being told how special they are not coping with someone who didn’t see exactly how special they were.

    Isn’t that the truth. After being tipped from the education conveyer belt into young adulthood, and having beng taught that life is always fair, and that it’s wrong to compete, kids embrace alcohol at about the same time these ideas are dashed by the real world.

    Cool story bro ;-)

    When I was at high school one of my mates was pretty close to suicide for quite a while.
    Then he discovered alcohol and he’s never looked back.

    He spends too much money on alcohol, but at least he is still here. He earns very good money though so it’s all good…

    I suspect depression is far more of a factor than alcohol in teen suicide.

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  12. Letterman (184 comments) says:

    And in terms of the efficacy of seeking assistance for youth with alcohol & drug issues? This meta-analysis says “there isn’t any” – which begs the question: why are we funding that for which the evidence says doesn’t work? Because we have to be seen to be doing something?

    http://cor.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/03/10/2150137811400595

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  13. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    From latest ScienceDaily news summary, it highlighted recent researches related to medical science. I say useful research and not useless. Here are some:

    -Treating brain cancer with novel viral vector
    -New drug to tackle body fat problems
    -Fruit flies provide new knowledge about uninhibited cell growth
    -Sperm viability greatly reduced in offspring of animals treated with common antibiotic tetracycline
    -Novel regulatory molecules called mirror-microRNAs control multiple aspects of brain function
    -Genetic mutation in African malaria parasite shown to give resistance to best drugs
    -Novel genetic loci identified for high-frequency hearing loss
    -Purple sea urchin metamorphosis controlled by histamine
    -Handheld probe shows great promise for oral cancer detection

    Entrepreneurs on the markets who are constantly looking for new ideas will use those research findings to develop technology for the betterment of humanity as they seek to make profits themselves. OTOH, useless researchers target their findings (& consultancy services) not for the entrepreneurs of this world to use (because its useless) but for Governments to adopt their nanny ideas. They get paid for advising Govt of how to nanny its citizens.

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  14. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    I wonder what has caused the dramatic drop in teen drinking, if that is actually the case.
    I am sure as hell it would not be because of whiny government officials.
    Could it be in large part due to technology and kids not feeling the need to go to a party when they can just socialize on Facebook or by text?

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  15. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    Or they are saving their money to buy P.

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  16. wreck1080 (3,912 comments) says:

    You’d think the ALAC survey is bullshit if anything.

    I don’t imagine that an increasing youth population combined with reduced drinking age would result in less youth drinking.

    There are so many factors at play you really need to get more information when the results do not match what you expect.

    eg, if youth drinking age had not been lowered then perhaps the drop would have been even larger.

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  17. Griff (7,700 comments) says:

    Alan Wilkinson (1,168) Says:
    April 30th, 2012 at 10:02 am

    “The Herald publishing unscientific drivel? Well, no surprise there then”

    I do believe that U have had your views published in the Herald
    Views on science courtesy of the holy bible and wanking with watts

    So I can not fault your statement
    Yes some things the herald publishes are unscientific drivel :lol:

    FFF if you are going to spend tax payers money on a perceived problem you have to quantify said problem
    Research into the actual facts not just ” I think that”
    is how we should drive future policy.There is a need for the type of research into alcohols problems as above. There is no need for the shits from MSM that twist stuff to manufacture a story
    We have major problems often because governments are persuaded by beliefs like Alan’s not science

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  18. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Wreck: “I don’t imagine that an increasing youth population …”

    It’s decreasing

    The proportion of the population in the youth age group has fallen at each census since 1976. This has occurred primarily as a result of the last of the baby boomers moving out of this age group and being replaced by the much smaller cohort of people who were born during the late 1970s and 1980s

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  19. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    Griff…

    FFF if you are going to spend tax payers money on a perceived problem you have to quantify said problem
    Research into the actual facts not just ” I think that”

    Perceived problem to who? The fact that some teen somewhere killed him/herself doesn’t affect me at all. If some kids don’t value life, then what’s that got to do with me or you? Conditional probability? Nope. Unless you endorse collectivism. If you are, then you’re a left-wing not a right-wing. Is the role of the Govt to look after those who can’t make good decisions?

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  20. mpledger (425 comments) says:

    DPF said
    “In 2006 the annual ALAC survey found 53% of 12 to 17 year olds were drinkers. In 2010 this figure had dropped to 32%. That is in fact a 40% relative reduction in the prevalance rate of youth drinking.”

    What’s the bet that the numbers in each year group are quite different in each survey i.e. something like … in the first survey there are more 17 year olds than 12 year olds and in the latter survey there are more 12 year olds than 17 year olds.

    Combining those age ranges is insane because of their drinking profile but ALAC probably had to do it because they never took enough sample to get decent numbers.

    And what the bet the sampling error on those figures is something like 10-15% anyway.

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  21. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    Griff, do you have a PhD in trolling or are you just “w**king” towards it?

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  22. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    So DPF’s rant was actually against a Herald sub editor who wrote the headline?

    Hence his “oops” moment (a la Rick Perry) when he actually allowed his reading eyes to slip down to the final sentences. One would have thought he would have learnt by now, with all his recent slip ups, to exercise a little more care. I guess not.

    Incidentally, I’ve seen many headlines that misrepresent the content of the published article. It does pay to employ one’s own comprehension skills.

    A teaser for DPF: is it possible to have a fall in the youth death rate and a fall in youth drinking rates but still have alarmingly high rates of both?

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  23. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    I tried to look up Dr Annette Beautrais here:
    http://www.mcnz.org.nz/support-for-doctors/list-of-registered-doctors/

    But was unable to find her.

    So I tried Google:
    Annette Beautrais PhD, QSO, MIASP, MAAS, MAFSP, MSPA, MIASR

    What type of person lists so many letters after their name?

    I was at uni age 17 when the rules were R20. I used to have fun and drink heavily at times, but I usually enjoyed myself, or learnt that valuable lesson “I’ll never drink again”. And of course there was drinking at high school parties too. It’s a great age to learn to drink, especially if you’re in a safe environment.

    I’m sure many of us have good friends we’d have never met/bonded with if it wasn’t for alcohol. Alcohol’s a social lubricant, and being social is a good thing.

    18 year old’s shouldn’t be buying a bottle of bourbon and drinking by themselves in their room, but what’s wrong with them going to a pub? If pubs followed the rules and didn’t serve completely wasted people, there’d be no issue.

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  24. Dave Mann (1,218 comments) says:

    It was revealed to me in a dream that this problem is in fact linked to Pukekos. Youth suicide rates and pukeko populations are both high in NZ relative to other rapidly undeveloping countries, so therefore it follows that the two are connected. Obviously.

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