Youth and Alcohol

Certain lobby groups and MPs would have you believe that since the alcohol purchase age was lowered in 1999, many more young people are drinking alcohol.

But an Auckland University study of 9,000 high school students has found the following changes from 2001 to 2007:

  • Students who have never drunk alcohol increased from 18% to 28%
  • Students who do not currently drink alcohol increased from 30% to 39%
  • Of students who currently drink alcohol, those who have not had a drink in the last four weeks went from 22% to 24%
  • Of students who drink alcohol, the proportion saying friends gave it to them dropped from 62% to 53%
  • Those asked for ID when purchasing rose from 44% to 61%
  • Those who were a passenger with a driver who has had over two drinks dropped from 29% to 24%

So remind me again why MPs are lining up like lemmings to increase the purchase age to 20?

The survey does show some negative increases, such as the proportion who binge drink, but that reinforces why the approach should be to target problem drinkers, not criminalise every 18 and 19 year old in the country.

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