INDEPENDENT NEWS

Time To Quit Costly Social Experiment on Children

Published: Wed 8 Nov 2006 10:22 AM
MEDIA RELEASE
Time To Quit Costly Social Experiment on Our Children
Focus on the Family NZ believe that today’s conscience vote as to whether to raise the ‘drinking age’ back up to 20 years is the perfect opportunity to make right the stupidity of lowering it in the first place.
Jennie Milne, Programme Director for Drug Proofing your Kids for Focus on the Family NZ says, “The lowering of the drinking age in 1999 has proven to be a costly social experiment for the children and families of our nation.”
Since this decision we have seen an increase in alcohol related harm in the 10- 18 year old age group.
- 2004 Alcohol Health Watch research showed that there has been an 87% increase in the number of alcohol-related hospital admissions for 10-14 year olds and of these 80% were for alcohol poisoning.
- In the same year the Salvation Army Social Policy and Parliament Unit showed there has been an increase in the number of young teenagers regularly drunk or drinking heavily; that children as young as 10 are drinking alcohol and more young people are reaching ‘alcoholic’ status by 18 yrs of age.
- research from the Injury Prevention Unit at Otago University published this year shows that there has also been a significant increase in alcohol-involved crashes occurring among the 15 to 19-year-olds since the lowering of the drinking age in 1999.
According to Jennie Milne, “This evidence coupled with the research that shows early initiation of alcohol leads to increased risk of dependency and depression in the adult years should inspire politicians to listen to the three quarters of the country who want the age raised back to 20.”
“Over the past few years I have spoken to hundreds of parents around New Zealand along with Police Youth Aid Officers, School Counselors, A and E physicians and drug and alcohol workers who unanimously say “I don’t know why they lowered it in the first place!!!”
Raising the legal drinking age back to 20 will be a positive a step closer to fully addressing this increasingly huge problem of the misuse and abuse of alcohol in New Zealand
Focus on the Family would urge all our politicians to take a wider look at the issue, considering the overall good for public health and the protection of our children instead of simply focusing on responsible individual 18 & 19 year olds that they know as their basis for this decision.
ENDS

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