Christchurch Press 03 March 2009
Kiwi children as young as four are trying alcohol and nine-year-olds are using cannabis, a new study reveals. The study of 12,000 young people, led by Canterbury researchers, found the onset of drinking “goes up very steeply from age 12”, while many were smoking cannabis by 15.
The study’s Christchurch-based lead author, Dr Elisabeth Wells, of Otago University, said it was obvious New Zealand’s youth were getting caught up in an overall culture of binge drinking. She suggested pre-adolescents get education about drugs and alcohol in schools as well as the community to try to halt the disturbing drop in the age when experimentation began.