The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is pleased to see that the Law Commission’s report into the alcohol industry has come out strongly in favour of reducing the harm caused by alcohol.
“Raising alcohol prices, restricting the hours that alcohol can be sold, reducing marketing and advertising and raising the drinking age are all tools to reduce alcohol harm,” says Canterbury Public Health Nursing Service Charge Nurse Manager, Alison Clarke.
“Nurses deal directly with the effects of alcohol abuse. Midwives care for pregnant women who drink; nurses working in schools see the effects of foetal alcohol syndrome; mental health and prison nurses cope with alcohol-induced violence, and public health nurses providing clinics at secondary schools deal with unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
“Emergency nurses are forced to re-prioritise sick people when victims of drunk driving, or alcohol poisoning are admitted; and district and primary health care nurses see the negative effects of alcohol on families and communities.
“As a public health nurse, I have worked with many young people who are affected negatively by alcohol. Young people need to have the issues around alcohol consumption and the consequences of overuse openly discussed to encourage them to develop safe strategies and to make informed choices when dealing with alcohol consumption and associated peer pressure.
“Raising the drinking age and limiting the transparent alcohol marketing that targets youth will be a good first step in changing the culture of alcohol abuse that we live with in New Zealand,” Alison Clarke said.
NZNO hopes the government will take the Law Commission’s report seriously and work toward positive liquor law reform in New Zealand.