Crack down on booze to lessen misery from ‘addictive psychotropic drug’, DHB urge

NZ Herald 6 January 2019
Family First Comment:  We’ve been saying this for years. And we’ll be saying the same thing if marijuana is foolishly legalised.

The price of your summer tipple would be hiked along with the drinking age under changes wanted by DHBs struggling with booze-related carnage and disease.

There are 47,000 people who drink hazardously within Auckland DHB’s boundary, with more than one in four men in that category.

The DHB has now joined other health boards including Counties Manukau in endorsing a position statement on alcohol harm. It calls for price hikes, restrictions on advertising and sponsorship, and an increase in the purchasing age.

“Alcohol is not an ordinary commodity. It is an intoxicant, toxin, and addictive psychotropic drug,” the DHB concludes. “Alcohol has been normalised and largely accepted by society, and causes more harm than any other drug in society.

“Harm from alcohol is not limited to those with alcohol addiction and dependence, but affects even those that drink low to moderate amounts.”

The stance adds to growing calls by DHBs to address the environment people live in, in order to improve their health. Wellington region DHBs recently called for a tax on sugary drinks.

Auckland DHB cited research showing consuming between 10 to 20 standard drinks a week slashes life expectancy by an estimated six months.

Drinking is linked to liver cirrhosis, cancers and stroke. At least 75 per cent of assaults between 9pm and 6am are estimated to be alcohol-related.

“In addition to the impact on health services in the community, treating alcohol-related harm in our hospitals requires significant staff time and resources, including security. Our ED staff often face physical abuse from intoxicated patients and visitors,” a DHB spokeswoman told the Herald on Sunday.

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