Shocks in teen-drinkers study

NZ Herald 14 December 2013
A new study has shown that a major contributor to alcohol-related harm among underage drinkers is their older mates supplying them with large amounts of booze.

And experts are urging those who supply youngsters with alcohol to “rethink” and “break the cycle”.

The Massey University study was released exclusively to the Weekend Herald just days before sweeping reforms come into effect, including under 18s needing “express consent” from their parents to consume alcohol.

From Wednesday, parents will have to provide consent through a phone call, handwritten note or text message before their children under 18 can have a drink at a party or function. If consent is not given, the person supplying the alcohol faces a criminal conviction and $2,000 fine.

In the lead-up to the law change, the Ministry of Health funded Massey University researchers to find out more about the “social supply” of alcohol to young people, with a view to developing strategies to reduce social supply in anticipation of this law change.

Massey’s director of Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation (Shore), Professor Sally Casswell, said the research revealed underage drinkers being supplied by their slightly older mates was an important contributor to the harm young people experienced from their drinking.
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