Raise the Drinking Age To Reverse Teen Alcohol Harm

Media Release 30 August 2012
Family First NZ is calling on politicians to vote to raise the purchase age to 20 to protect young people and reverse the harm that alcohol is causing to our young people.

“Health boards, health professionals, police, family groups, addiction experts, the Prime Minister’s chief science adviser, leading scientists, and the general public – including young people – are all shouting to politicians to raise the drinking age to 20 in order to protect young people and to save lives,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The split-age proposal will be confusing, sends a mixed message, and is not supported by frontline workers who are mopping up the mess of alcohol abuse on a regular basis.”

“Alcohol policies and decisions about a legal drinking age should be firmly based on the health and well-being of New Zealand’s young people. New medical evidence on accident probability, disease and brain development, along with the Child and Youth Mortality Review, and the recommendations of the Prime Minister’s chief science adviser, makes it absolutely clear that delaying the age at which teenagers and young people have easy access to alcohol will reduce the level of damage they and society suffer at the moment as well as contributing to their future health and well-being,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“We need to send an unambiguous message to young people and society about what is good for young people, and raising both the drinking and purchase age will make it easier for parents and the community to work together to prevent harm to our young people. Parents don’t want a split-age proposal as this simply sends a mixed message, and is easy for young people to avoid, often simply by pre-loading,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“The politicians should immediately increase the drinking age to at least 20 in the best interests of our young people and society.”
ENDS 

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