The Ministry of Health has just published a survey of NZers and alcohol. The results are interesting, compared to five years ago. I think they show again how exaggerated the moral panic around alcohol has been.
- The proportion of NZers who have had an alcoholic drink in the last year has dropped from 84% to 80%
- The proportion of 15 to 17 year olds who had a drink in the last year has dropped from 75% to 59%. This shows how absolutely wrong it would have been to increase the alcohol purchase age to 20. The current age of 18 is leading to fewer young people drinking than in the past.
- The proportion of adults who have “hazardous” drinking has dropped from 26% to 22% for men and from 11% to 9% for women.
- The proportion of 18 – 24 year old drinkers who are hazardous drinkers has fallen from 49% to 36%.
- The more deprived the area someone lives in, the less likely they are to drink, but if they do the more likely they are to be a hazardous drinker. 11% of adults who live in the least deprived areas are hazardous drinkers compared to 18% of adults in the most deprived areas.
These results are very consistent with other surveys in recent years.