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"Alcohol is a major drug. Along with cigarette smoking it causes by far the most damage." ( Drug Counsellor)

Everywhere you go in New Zealand you see pubs, taverns, bars, restaurants and cafes serving alcoholic drinks. Liquor advertising is everywhere too. Though alcohol is widely socially accepted, it creates a lot of unhappiness, violence and ill-health for many people.

Alcohol is a powerful drug and its use is easily abused.

Alcohol is a depressant which impairs the mind and body, slowing down the thinking, reactions and making people sleepy.

Pure alcohol is colourless and has no taste. The three types of alcoholic drinks – beer, wine and spirits - get their colour and taste from the ingredients they’re made from, namely grains (for whisky and beer) and fruits (for wine and cider).

People who drink alcohol to excess are a threat to themselves and society.

Young people, underage drinkers, who illegally buy and consume alarming amounts of alcoholic drink will often not realise just exactly what they are doing.

It is especially dangerous when people drive under the influence.

Drinking to much alcohol too quickly can make people quite sick. They might feel nauseous, vomit collapse, or they might start fights, arguments,
Alcohol is a major drug. Along with cigarette smoking it causes by far the most damage.
or cause an accident, especially if they are allowed to drive. A binge drinker who’s gone seriously off the wagon could into an alcoholic coma, or even die from alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol-related problems are estimated to cost New Zealand $2 billion a year.

Deregulation of the liquor industry has made it easier to get liquor licences. It also has increased the number and variety of bars and eateries able to sell alcohol. Some licensed premises can now open for 24 hours. This has made alcohol more available.

A person may develop an alcohol problem no matter what their age or how much they drink. Long term heavy drinkers can become physically and psychologically addicted to alcohol. An alcohol addicted person will need a lot of help and encouragement to control their drinking or stop altogether.

Reproduced with the kind permission of the New Zealand Police Association

Back to Alcohol Abuse Index

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