Treat booze like smokes - kids' advocate
Fri, 13 Jul 2012 10:38a.m.
The Government is under pressure to actively discourage drinking alcohol in the same way that it discourages smoking.
Children's Commissioner Russell Wills told a health select committee inquiry into child abuse on Thursday that the Government should treat alcohol "with the same seriousness" as cigarettes.
Dr Wills, who is a paediatrician, said the number of children he was seeing with foetal alcohol effects had exploded in the last five years.
He told Radio New Zealand on Friday that the source of the problem was that women were drinking during pregnancy.
He said 40 percent of pregnancies were unplanned.
Dr Wills said a minimum pricing policy for alcohol would reduce heavy alcohol intake among the most vulnerable in the community.
Whereas young people were actively discouraged from smoking, the same did not apply to alcohol.
In a joint submission, the Every Child Counts group, which includes Barnardos, Plunket, UNICEF and Save the Children, called for a sustained, cross-party commitment to policies for children.
The group wants universal services and a Children's Action Plan for all children.
The committee will hear further submissions in Auckland today.
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15/07/2012 9:34:38 a.m.
Alcohole to me is one of the worst drugs out there, just because almost everyone does it. It is advertised all over the tv, at sporting events. No wonder the youth of this country has a big problem with it.
Smoking and alcohol are not even in the same legue. Alcohol is more of a problem, how many people have been raped, beaten up, hit someone in a car, smashed windows and so on when they have had one to many smokes?
14/07/2012 5:30:13 p.m.
Alcohol is as much of a drug as smoking or marijuana. Just because some can have one and leave it, as is often the case with other drugs, does not mean it is ok. Anyone that says it is ok is in denial. The government has made smoking sociably unacceptable but are hypocritical when it comes to alcohol. And yes it is already a nanny state.
14/07/2012 7:17:54 a.m.
Drinking during pregnancy is a choice, often under stupidity, ignorance or naivety. A minimum price on alcohol won't stop these sorts of people from continually doing harm to their unborn children. They've just end up paying more to obtain alcohol. But if these people knew better, or are told otherwise, perhaps that will make more of a difference to foetal alcohol syndrome birth rates.
13/07/2012 8:46:53 p.m.
Why is it always someone else's fault? Make the abuser pay. Drinking too much? Fine, but there should not just be a slap on the wrist. Now you have to kill or maim someone first before you (maybe) get a reasonable punishment. When you start drinking, you know what the consequences are if you drink too much (and get caught). To stop this stupid behaviour you need just two things. Increase the chances of being caught and make the punishment so humiliating that it will be the last time they do it. Perhaps go back to the middle ages. Put them on display in the town square. Most people will know what to throw at them :). This should also apply to anyone being caught drunk in public. Scenes like those in down town Auckland on Saturday night should simply not happen. Put them in cages in Queen Street and let the public have some fun. Make pictures of them and post them on the net. Everyone caught a second time within a year (or so)should be locked in a pillory for 24 hours.
All this will easily prevent everyone else being punished with higher prices for alcohol. It is already more than expensive enough if you just want to have a beer or a wine when socialising or after a hard day's work.
13/07/2012 8:44:33 p.m.
John Anderson wrote:
ERM.... nothing in what I wrote was meant to imply I believe our courts (police or government) are competent in the management of the drug problem or brave enough to make material change.
If the police catch someone selling drugs to one of your kids they tell them off. If you catch someone selling drugs to your kids (and do what comes natural to a parent protecting their kid), you will go to jail for several years. Hello!
Booze is a drug. Our government allows suppliers to spend a fortune teaching our kids its cool to be drunk. Hello!
I agree with Richard Branson's ideas (in his new book Like a Virgin). If the government removed the money from the drug market (the entire drug market - booze, tobacco, dope, cocaine, heroin, meth etc) the advertising, the promotion, and pushing would disappear. With removal of the economic dimension; the market would disappear.
For those that have not read the book; the proposal is that if all drugs were legalised and usage treated as a sickness rather than a crime then the pushers would leave the market. It would also turn Mexico into a beautiful and safe tourist destination!
13/07/2012 5:05:38 p.m.
Oh come on John - the courts can't even make the manufacturers of cigarettes responsible for the deaths their products cause!! I for one want to see anyone drunk in a public place or driving drunk or committing a crime while drunk thrown into prison. A minimum 2 months inside would cut down the problem overnight.
13/07/2012 4:29:24 p.m.
I don't believe any of our current politicians have the guts to follow through and deal with this.
Personally I would like to see the suppliers of alcohol (manufactures and retailers) held culpable for crimes committed by their customers under the influence of their products.
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