Case for Change

Friends are a very common source of alcohol for young people.

More girls than boys get their alcohol from friends.

Most alcohol drinking occasions occur with friends.

Friends often over-supply alcohol to their mates. 

When alcohol is supplied by others, a young person is at increased risk of drinking heavily and experiencing harm.

Friends and others giving alcohol to young people

New Zealand high school students report that friends and others are a very common source of alcohol [25].

The following sources of alcohol are reported by young New Zealand drinkers:

  • Parents (60%)
  • Friends (44%)
  • Buy their own (11%)
  • Someone else buys it for them – not a parent (30%).

​New Zealand adolescents report that they commonly consume alcohol with friends (83%), family (53%), and/or with another person (15%).


Who obtains alcohol from friends

More females than males source their alcohol from friends (47% versus 39%).

High school students living in lower socio-economic areas were  more likely to get alcohol from a friend than those living in more socio-economically advantaged areas (46% versus 43%).


Harm from obtaining alcohol from friends and others

Alcohol supplied by friends and others (i.e. non-parents) is particularly dangerous for young people. It has been linked with an increased likelihood of drinking high amounts of alcohol and experiencing alcohol-related harm [26].

Social supply is a term commonly used in relation to young people’s drinking. It means alcohol that is supplied by another person as opposed to purchased directly from an outlet or licensed premises or obtained without permission.

It is believed that social supply of alcohol may lead to a young person starting to drink earlier.


Note: this section is not about supply from licensed premises, click here to read more.

Harms from adolescent drinking  Trends in adolescent drinking in New Zealand

Alcohol availability and adolescent drinking

Factors that protect young people from harm