Fights, falls and broken glass have contributed to the Government paying more than $5 million for booze-related injuries in the Bay of Plenty over the past five years.
The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) has paid $5.3m in active claims for alcohol-related injuries in the region between 2016 and the end of October this year, figures released under the Official Information Act reveal.
Active claims can get a payment at any point after being lodged and could be counted over several years.
Rotorua accounted for $580,000 of the claims.
Most were from Tauranga City and the Western Bay of Plenty District with $3.99m paid in that time.
This was followed by $734,000 in the Whakatāne District.
The most common injuries in Rotorua were 80 soft tissue injuries including strains, sprains and bruises, with the most common being a lower back sprain, followed by sprains of the neck, shoulder and ankle.
A spokesman said back injuries were commonly caused by lifting heavy boxes, barrels, kegs and crates. Other injuries were mainly caused by slips, trips and falls.
Open wounds made up 82 of the area's claims with broken bottles and glass injuries to the hands making up a third of these types of injuries in the region.
Cuts and scrapes from falling over were also common.
Fights, glass bottles and falling over were linked to the 55 dental injury claims.
Broken bones, mainly in the hand, made up 27 of the injuries with many including ribs and the face.
There were also 76 unknown injuries, which a spokesman said applied when the medical practitioner didn't identify them in the data.
The results, from an Official Information Act request, were not complete as a non-mandatory section of the injury claim form asked for an accident description.
Alcohol Action NZ chairman and Mount Maunganui GP Tony Farrell said alcohol was linked to people ending up in wheelchairs after jumping from heights, drunk driving and to driveway accidents every year.
"Alcohol is aggressionogenic, so people hurt and kill each other using this drug."
Farrell said injuries happened because alcohol caused intoxication, and impaired judgment and co-ordination relatively quickly.
It disinhibited people and made them more likely to take risks, he said.
He didn't believe the figures were a true reflection of the injuries in the community with many injured in unreported family harm incidents.
People also hurt themselves while in withdrawal or hungover. Fatigue from sleep issues around alcohol was also a factor in accidents that were not reported, he said.
Alcohol was well known as a "significant" cause of injury and death especially after drinking more than six standard drinks on one occasion.
Farrell said one in five New Zealanders drank like this - about 820,000 people.
Alcohol Healthwatch executive director Nicki Jackson was not sure why the Rotorua ACC spend was considerably lower than Tauranga and said there could be differences in access to things like health services and coding of injury.
Jackson noted 10 per cent of emergency department admissions were because of someone else's drinking.
She said research showed drinking four standard drinks on a single occasion more than doubled the risk of an injury in the six hours after.
The reported health harms were one small component with New Zealanders paying through lost productivity, unsafe roads and unsafe communities.
She said addressing the low price of alcohol, the high number of liquor outlets and pervasive marketing would help reduce the harm.
NZ Alcohol Beverages Council executive director Bridget MacDonald said it was important to keep safe and social by making sensible decisions and supporting others to do the same.
MacDonald said New Zealand was experiencing a shift in drinking culture and attitudes.
"We are making better decisions about alcohol, and our behaviours are changing, particularly how we drink and socialise and our purchasing decisions. Forty per cent of Kiwis consumed low-alcohol drinks last year. It's being driven by a shift in positive social attitudes toward no- and low-alcohol beverages, which are now seen as socially acceptable.
She said education was the key to reducing alcohol-related harm.
"Make the most of your summer social occasions by moderating how much you drink, considering no- and low-alcohol options, staying hydrated with water, enjoying your drink with some food, and having a plan to get home safely."
The council encourages people to know what a standard drink looks like, stay hydrated and fed when drinking and have a plan to get home safely.
ACC injury prevention programme leader James Whitaker said the stats "speak for themselves" and people needed to "take a step back" and think how individual actions could harm them and others.
"When we're having a few drinks, most of us get to a point when we wonder if it's wise to have more. Listen to the voice inside of you that lets you know when you've had enough.
He urged people to encourage loved ones to stop drinking, relax and have some food if they seem like they've had enough.
"They might get a bit grumpy but it's better to have an awkward conversation than to regret not doing anything."
A Lakes District Health Board spokeswoman said the organisation saw injuries from serious crashes involving drunk drivers, fights and domestic violence.
The district health board also cared for people with head injuries from falling over and sprained ankles as people can't walk straight while drunk.
"There is no safe amount of alcohol use, and the greater the consumption the greater the risk to health and wellbeing," she said.
"Alcohol doesn't just affect physical abilities but it also affects people's judgment and inhibitions and we see the consequences."
She said ACC's stats were just a portion and did not capture the many who injured themselves and self-managed.
She urged people to be careful as too much alcohol carried a risk to health and wellbeing.
Tips for the festive season:
• Never drink and drive.
• Keep track of the number of standard drinks.
• Aim to have at least two alcohol-free days.
• Start with non-alcoholic drinks and alternate with alcoholic drinks. Look into low alcohol options.
• If hosting a party, be a responsible host and have plenty of non-alcoholic options available and provide food.