“One of most common genetic defects in man is our inability to counteract the toxicity of alcohol”
Dr Nick Sheron, the Liver Unit, Southampton General Hospital, UK.
The Social Cost of Alcohol in New Zealand
There are around 200 alcohol-related violent and sexual assaults every day in New Zealand. There are 20 alcohol-related deaths a week in New Zealand. Alcohol kills about 1000 New Zealanders each year, including deaths from alcohol-related accidents, trauma and organ damage¹. Over 80% of New Zealand doctors see patients every week with health problems caused or increased by alcohol².
One-in-four Kiwis drink heavily
In 2000, 41 Kiwis died directly from alcohol³. By 2008 that number rose to 254. This means we now have around one New Zealander drinking themselves to death every day. We are so reliant on booze that we have 25% of New Zealand drinkers drinking heavily. We all know people who have passed away or been severely affected by alcohol.
“Alcohol is sold here without a warning label on the bottle. There is no indication of what is a safe or even maximum ‘dose’; no warning against drinking when pregnant; no warning that it leads to health problems, contributes to depression and suicide and can lead to addiction and death”
Roger Brooking, Alcohol & Drug Assessment and Counselling, Wellington, NZ.
The ‘booze culture’ in New Zealand
Our children have taken it to an entirely new level of harm. Over 30% of our students do not stop drinking even after vomiting from alcohol poisoning. The same amount of kids have passed out due to heavy drinking in the previous six months alone⁴. Student visitors double their alcohol intake when in New Zealand⁵. We know conclusively that alcohol in youth is directly linked to severe depression⁶. We have one of the highest teenage depression and suicide rates anywhere in the world.
Why do our children drink so poorly and in ever-increasing amounts?
Because we do. We spend more money at the supermarket on alcohol than anything else. Then we wonder why our kids are drinking so much and have such high levels of brain- and emotion-related problems. I know it sounds alarmist but the hard cold truth is that New Zealand and most countries now have a national alcohol crisis. Open any paper on any Monday morning and you will see the carnage. More broken families that will never be put back together again.
1. Dr Geoff Robinson, Capital and Coast District Health Board’s Chief Medical Officer. The Dominion Post, 30 June 2010.
2. The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, 2010 survey. The Press, 1 October 2010.
3. New Zealand Coroner’s Office, 2010.
4. NZ Medical Journal, 2011. Reported by the NZ Herald, 10 June 2011.
5. Researchers at the University of Washington. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, October 2010.
6. Headstrong (The National Centre for Youth Mental Health and the UCD School of Psychology), ‘My World Survey’ covering 14,306 people aged 12–25 years, released 16 May 2012.
Jason wishes to deeply thank, acknowledge and recognise the effort and contribution that the PIF Foundation has provided on a voluntary basis since 2014, as we educated, motivated and inspired change that helps transform the health, vitality and longevity of people all over the world.