Young male violence higher with lower drinking age

3News 20 June 2014
More young men have been getting into fights since the legal drinking age was reduced to 18 in New Zealand, a study has found.

New research from the University of Otago shows that since the minimum age at which Kiwis can buy alcohol was reduced to 18 in 1999, there has been an increase of assaults in male youths aged between 15 and 19.

The study looked at the number of patients admitted to hospitals with injuries from assaults that took place on weekends before and after the law changed.

In particular, researchers compared assault rates among 18-19 year-olds, whose legal access to alcohol increased, with 15-17 year-olds, whose informal access to alcohol is likely to have increased, as well as 20-21 year-olds, who were unaffected by the change in law.

The results, published in the American Journal of Public Health, show there are more assaults in male youths 15-19, but not for girls the same age.