26 November 2004

Dear Sir

I applaud researchers for wanting to understand the effects of prenatal exposure to methamphetamine (NZ Herald 26.11.04) but when are they going to investigate the long term health outcomes of New Zealand children exposed to the most commonly used drug in our society, alcohol? There has been no follow-up study of New Zealand children exposed to alcohol before birth despite this being recognised internationally as the leading preventable causes of birth defects and prenatal brain damage in western society. The New Zealand response to the scourge of methamphetamine has been to make it an illegal Class A substance. Good on them I say, but alcohol is dangerous too and yet it sits on our supermarket shelves without so much as a whiff of the devastation it can cause a new life. A warning label and a bit of research is the least the public could expect, but it seems New Zealand is more willing to ensure the rights of the purveyors of alcohol, than to actively protect the intellectual development of the children exposed to it before birth.

Christine Rogan
Health Promotion Advisor
Alcohol Healthwatch
PO Box 99 407