14 Jan 2018

Young drinkers consuming more alcohol than ever

7:45 am on 14 January 2018

Fewer young people in New Zealand are drinking but the heavy drinking culture has not changed, a health watchdog says.

no caption

Photo: 123rf

A study involving more than 41,000 teenagers in Australia between 1999 and 2015 has found more are turning away from alcohol.

The research by Deakin University found that in 2015, 45 percent of teenagers said they had drunk a full glass of alcohol, compared with 70 percent 15 years earlier.

Executive director of Alcohol Healthwatch Nicki Jackson said that was in line with what's happening in New Zealand, but people can't be complacent.

"Yes, there's been declines in young people choosing to take up drinking but we've seen no declines whatsoever in the style in which young people drink, they're still drinking very heavily so that culture hasn't changed."

Dr Jackson said in fact, hazardous binge-drinking had been getting worse, and the government needed to raise the price of alcohol.

"Since 2011 we haven't seen any positive change in 18 to 24 year old drinking so you know this is great, they're protecting their brains while they're very very vulnerable but we've got to make sure that when they hit that age they're not just stepping into that culture," she said.