One in three young adults hit by drink

The Press 07 December 2007
New Zealand’s binge-drinking culture is now so deeply ingrained that one in three young adults has an alcohol problem. Experts say a generation that has grown up with alco-pops, a lower drinking age and heavy marketing of hard liquor is now suffering the effects and urge health professionals to take action. The comments follow the release of a disturbing study from Otago University’s Christchurch School of Medicine. A survey of more than 1000 25-year-olds found one in three admitted to an alcohol problem and one in 20 was alcohol-dependent or had an addiction where liquor ruled their lives and they needed it to function. Those with the most disturbing alcohol problems were the least likely to acknowledge they had a problem. Addiction experts say the results are disturbing but not surprising, given the country’s binge-drinking culture, lowered drinking age and the prevalence of “hard liquor”… The study, which has just been published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, found those who sought help did so at the urging of family or friends.