Forum To Look At Impacts Of Lowering The Drinking Age

Auckland emergency physician, Dr Peter Jones, reports there has been a significant increase in the number of young people presenting with alcohol- related injuries to Auckland Hospital Emergency Department since the lowering of the legal drinking age to 18 in December 1999.

Dr Jones, who has co-authored an as yet unpublished study on the impacts of the lowering drinking age on the Auckland Emergency Department, will be speaking about some of his findings at a Forum on the Sale of Liquor Act organised by Alcohol Healthwatch at Quality Hotel, Greenlane on the 4 th October. (From 9.30am to 3.00pm)

The focus of the forum will be on the impact of lowering of the drinking age and the development of appropriate public policy to deal with these consequences. The Forum will also provide an opportunity to have input into the current review of ‘the impacts of lowering the drinking age’ being undertaken by the Ministry of Justice.

The ‘drinking age’ review was announced by the Minister, Phil Goff in July this year and followed calls by the NZ Medical Association to raise the legal drinking age back to 20 years in response to perceived problems with youth drinking!

Other speakers at the Forum include, Professor Sally Casswell, of the Alcohol and Public Health Research Unit and Paul Marriott- Lloyd from the Ministry of Police.

“There is now clearly a body of evidence suggesting that the lowering of the drinking age has had a serious impact on the health of young New Zealanders.

The current review of the impact of lowering the drinking age by the Ministry of Justice provides a window of opportunity to improve public policy on youth drinking. It is important that the government seizes this opportunity”, says Roger Eccles, spokesperson for Alcohol Healthwatch.

The Forum aims to ensure that quality information and the most recent research is included in the Ministry of Justice review, and that as broad a section of the community as possible has the opportunity to have input into the review process.

For further information please contact:
Roger Eccles, Alcohol Healthwatch
Wk (09) 5207038
eccles@ahw.co.nz