Split-age drink law

Dear Editor,

In your editorial 23 March 2006 you discuss and lend support the concept of a split age for young people purchasing liquor. While we consider the debate on this issue healthy, we provide a word of caution. Research evidence supports a return to a minimum purchase age of 20 years as being the most effective way forward. A split age would definitely compromise effectiveness from a harm prevention perspective. We believe that a split age carefully implemented and monitored could go some way forward, however it must be accompanied by other effective measures including price controls and restrictions on alcohol marketing. Only then would we see the desired downward slide in binge-drinking and harms. We must also remember that the age issue is one small bit of a large complex puzzle and the matter would be helped significantly if we adults set higher expectations of our own behaviour and attitudes towards alcohol. Less is best!!

Rebecca Williams
Alcohol Healthwatch
L.2 27 Gillies Ave
Newmarket
Auckland
Ph: 09 520 7035