Parents supplying alcohol to 'risky drinking' teens

Youth risky drinking rates are a concern across New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images
Youth risky drinking rates are a concern across New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images

A quarter of Wanaka school students binge drink alcohol supplied by their parents, a study has revealed.

334 Year 9 to Year 11 students at Mt Aspiring College were surveyed in an effort by the Wanaka Alcohol Group to find out more about drinking in its community.

The study revealed 62 per cent of students obtained alcohol from their parents. 32 per cent of parents bought alcohol on their children's behalf, while 41 per cent allowed children to take alcohol from their home.

Wanaka Alcohol Group chairperson Rachel Brown told members of the public at a meeting last week that youth drinking was an issue for the whole community, the Otago Daily Times reported.

"Youth attitudes and behaviour are really closely related to parents and other adults," Brown said.

"So we really need to look at this all together and own this as a community."

The study, "Harming Me, Harming You: A community perspective of alcohol use in Wanaka", by researchers Dr Vanessa Hammond and Rachel Cassaidy said 28 per cent of year 9-11 pupils were "actively engaged" in alcohol use.

"Among these current drinkers, 25 per cent stated that they are doing it to get drunk.

"For some, drinking has led to unsafe sex, injury, and/or doing things that could get them into serious trouble."

Among current drinkers, 32 per cent of males said they drank weekly and 41 per cent of females drank two or three times in the previous four weeks.

Dr Hammond said while the number of Wanaka pupils who had drunk alcohol was not dissimilar to other parts of the country, more "binge-drinking" appeared to be occurring among year 11 Wanaka pupils.

The Agency's policy, research and advice manager, Cath Edmondson, told Radio NZ that most of the survey reflected what was happening nationally, including that most alcohol was coming from young people's parents.

Edmondson added that while the overall number of young people drinking was down, the agency remained concerned about the rates of risky drinking and the impact on young people and their communities.

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