More individuals experience harm from the drinking of others, than from their own drinking

We all bear the costs from alcohol-related harm, but many communities experience disproportionately more harm than other communities.

A study in 2012 found that the prevalence of self-reported harm from others’ drinking in Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) was higher than the self-reported harm experienced by drinkers from their own drinking (18% vs 12% in the past year). Harm from the drinking of others was high among women and young people. A more recent study found that the amount of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) was much higher for alcohol-related harm to others (78, 277 healthy years lost) than for alcohol-related harm to drinkers (60, 174 years lost). The same study found that fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is the largest contributor to this harm (90.3%), followed by traffic crashes (6.3%), and interpersonal violence (3.4%) in Aotearoa NZ.

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Violence and Police call outs

Alcohol is responsible for a third of all violence (33%), a third of all family violence (34%) half of all sexual assaults (54%) and homicides (49.5%).

Over 300 alcohol-related offences are committed every day.

Each day 52 individuals or groups of people are either driven home or detained in police because of intoxication.

In 2008/09, one in nine New Zealanders reported that they called the police at least once in the past year due to other people’s drinking.

Injuries to others

Between 2003 and 2007, half of all alcohol-related traffic injuries in the 15-19 year age group in New Zealand were due to someone else’s drinking; the highest proportion in comparison to other age groups.

Between 2020-2022, for every 100 alcohol or drug-impaired drivers or riders who died on New Zealand roads, 27 of their passengers and 12 sober road users died with them. Click here to read more.

Other harms

More than one quarter (28%) of respondents in a 2008/09 New Zealand survey indicated that they had at least one heavy drinker in their life; 85% indicated they had experienced a range of harms because of this person’s drinking. 17% of respondents with children reported that their children experienced harm because of the drinking of someone else. Seventy-one percent of those sampled reported experiencing at least one harm because of the drinking of a stranger.

A smaller study in New Zealand found that Emergency Department staff, in particular nurses, were commonly assaulted by alcohol-affected patients.