Alcohol law changes ineffective at reducing harm – study

NewsHub 5 October 2018
Family First Comment:  “Education, promoted as the only strategy by the industry, is not a cost-effective, or even effective, solution.” 
We could have told them that. In fact we did – during the submission process in 2012. But John Key’s government grovelled to the alcohol industry. 
Time to strengthen the law to protect families and communities from alcohol abuse.

Law changes aimed at preventing alcohol harm aren’t working, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the University of Otago interviewed patients at Christchurch Hospital’s emergency department in 2013 and 2017, to see if the “harm caused by the excessive or inappropriate consumption of alcohol” was being “minimised”, as according to the wording of the Sale and Supply of Liquor Act 2012.

They found no change in the number of people being hurt as a direct result of recent alcohol intoxication – around one admission in 14.

The only significant change was in purchasing habits – in 2013 only 41.7 percent had bought their booze at a liquor store – that increased to 56.1 percent in 2017; and while two-thirds had bought their drinks at any off-licence in 2013, by 2017 that had gone up to 79.1 percent.

“Most of the people had bought the alcohol they drank from off-licence locations, like liquor stores and supermarkets. In most cases they had actually had their last drink in a private location.”

Most patients’ last drink before ending up in the emergency department was consumed at a private location, not a bar. It is generally much cheaper to buy alcohol at an off-licence than at a licenced venue.

Around a quarter of patients under the influence of alcohol had drunk 15 or more standard drinks. Eighteen percent had consumed at least 20.

Patients ranged in age from 14 to 87.

Stay-at-home drinkers outnumber pub-goers at ED
Stuff 5 October 2018 
It’s a familiar stereotype: the partygoer who heads into town, gets drunk, comes a cropper and ends up in an emergency department as an entirely avoidable health statistic.

It happens every weekend across the country and is considered an unnecessary drain on the system.

It is, but it turns out the stay-at-home version of that problem drinker may be an even bigger issue.

Researchers at the University of Otago studied alcohol-related attendances at Christchurch Hospital emergency department (ED) for a three-week period in 2013 and again last year and found most people had taken their last drink at home: just under 70 per cent in both cases.

Only 26 per cent of patients in the 2013 study had drunk most recently at a pub or club, and that dropped to 20 per cent in 2017.

Alcohol to have mandatory warning labels after move backed by transtasman health ministers
Stuff 11 October 2018 
Warning labels advising pregnant women about the dangers of drinking alcohol will become mandatory in New Zealand and Australia, answering the pleas of health professionals.

Members of the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation met in Adelaide on Thursday to vote whether alcohol manufacturers would be forced to put warnings on their products stating that it was dangerous to drink while pregnant.

New Zealand Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor announced the labels would become mandatory.

“While the alcohol industry has been voluntarily including warnings on some products for the past six years there is no consistency in the type, colour, size and design, reducing the effectiveness of the message,” O’Connor said.

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