The prevalence (%) of past-year drinking among the total population, 2018/19 NZ Health Survey.
By age-group (years)
By ethnic group (total response)
By neighbourhoood deprivation
Drinking in the last 12 months among 15-17 year olds
The New Zealand Health Survey shows 44,000 fewer 15-17 year olds drinking in 2018/19 (120,000) than in 2006/07 (164,000). This is a fantastic change to see - but we still have a long way to go as over half of all young people in this age group are drinking. The New Zealand low-risk drinking guidelines recommend that for young people aged 15 to 17 years, the safest option is to delay drinking for as long as possible.
Hazardous drinking among 15-17 year olds
We have witnessed significant declines in the prevalence of young people being classified as a hazardous drinker. ‘Hazardous drinking’ refers to an established alcohol drinking pattern that carries a risk of harming the drinker’s physical or mental health or having harmful social effects on the drinker or others.
The prevalence of hazardous drinking from the New Zealand Health Survey is shown below. The proportion of 15-17 year olds being hazardous drinkers almost halved from 2006/07 to 2015/16! The question in the survey then changed, so using the new question comparisons can only be made from 2015/16 onwards. This shows the following:
Drinking 6+ drinks on one occasion in the last month, among 15-17 year olds
Around 1 in every 13 (7.7%) adolescents (15-17 years) reported consuming 6 or more standard drinks on one occasion in the last month in 2018/19. Nine percent of adolescent boys and 6.2% of adolescent girls drank heavily (6+ drinks on one occasion) at least monthly.
Other surveys of young people
However, adolescents who do drink continue to drink large amounts. Of particular concern, young adolescent females in New Zealand were shown to increase the volume of alcohol consumed between 2007 and 2012. It was suggested that young people were drinking on fewer occasions, but were still drinking heavily in a drinking occasion (i.e. the culture of heavy drinking and drunkenness had not really changed).
For more information on adolescent drinking, click the button ADOLESCENT DRINKING
|FACTSHEET: DRINKING IN THE PAST YEAR||FACTSHEET: HAZARDOUS DRINKING|
The prevalence (%) of hazardous drinking in the total population in 2017/18 is shown below:
By age-group (years)
By ethnic group (total response)
By neighbourhood deprivation
It is great that you want to take action to protect your family / whānau. Here's some tips to start your journey.
Alcohol is a toxin – This is particularly important in relation to children and young people. They will be more affected by any alcohol consumption they consume. Higher strength alcohol products, such as spirits, present a greater risk in relation to poisoning.
Alcohol products and packaging are part of the marketing – Alcohol producers and marketers aim to make their products as appealing as possible to current and potential consumers. Young peoples’ exposure to alcohol marketing is known to speed up the onset of drinking and increase the amounts consumed by those already drinking.
Almost every New Zealand drinker consumes alcohol in their home or in another’s home.
Family homes play a major role in children and young person's exposure to alcohol. Many parents report being drunk or tipsy in front of their children.
Children report negative feelings when being around their parents who are drinking.
The home may also be an avenue for exposure to alcohol sponsorship - through merchandise / posters / etc.
There are many actions that can be taken at home to protect family/whānau members and visitors.
Alcohol in the home
Between 2012 and 2013, over 9 in 10 adult drinkers (96%) had consumed alcohol in their home or in another’s home in New Zealand .
Therefore, the home has a significant influence on children's and young people's experiences and exposures to alcohol. How they see drinking happen at home will become their expectations and own norms for drinking.
As seen in the young people section of this website, adolescents commonly report consuming alcohol with friends (83%) followed by family (53%) . Many more students who live in deprived neighbourhoods (59%) report drinking with their family when compared to those living in the least deprived neighbourhood (49%).
In a recent UK survey of 1,000 parents , almost one-third (29%) of parents reported having been drunk in front of their child; more than half (51%) of parents reported being tipsy in front of their kids.
In this study, almost one-third (29%) of parents thought it was okay to get drink in front of their kids as long as it did not happen regularly. The same survey also found that children could feel negative towards parents' drinking behaviours. For example, around one in five (18%) of children had felt embarasssed and one in 10 (11%) had felt worried .
Last but not least, it is known that one of the factors that contributes to earlier drinking and progression to binge drinking in adolescents is owning alcohol-branded merchandise in homes . This merchandise is commonly found in home settings. Please check out the subsection on advertising and sponsorship for more information about exposure to alcohol marketing in our home.
It is is great that you want to take action in this important area. Here are some key steps to help you in your journey.
Here's what you need to know about alcohol in school settings:
Young people experience high levels of alcohol-related harm. Places where young people spend a lot of time need to promote health and well-being, rather than increase risk for a young people to experience harm.
Schools play important functions in the wider community, and are often a hub for community gatherings. Sometimes these involve alcohol. Some schools have licences to sell/serve alcohol, others use alcohol sales as a fund-raising activity. School balls have also caused concern.
Tertiary students are among our heaviest drinking groups in New Zealand. They experience high levels of harm from their drinking. This can have a huge impact on their academic success. Orientation and other university student events, and student-oriented bars sometimes serve to highlight this.
Many communities are taking action to address drinking in public places. Here's how you can take action.