Dear Editor
Liz Gordon writes (10/12/05) that it would be unfair to raise the “drinking age” to 20 to stop 14 year olds from drinking. She is right that advertising and the rise of alco-pops have played a part in grooming young people for drinking, but teaching young people to “respect alcohol”, as she suggests, has not been shown to be effective despite expensive educational campaigns in many countries.
Research shows that 18-19 year olds are the heaviest drinking group in New Zealand and are seen as a good source of alcohol and role models for younger teens. I expect many people hoped that the lowered age would work but unfortunately the desired “hard 18” is far from being a reality. Raising the purchase age is a necessary step towards reducing the negative impact that alcohol is having on our young people and it must be accompanied by other proven strategies to reduce harm.
Rebecca Williams
Alcohol Healthwatch
PO Box 99 407