Now they’re coming for your supermarket beer

beer and barbeque

A newspaper reports on the latest wowser study:

The study, released today, showed that around one in 14 ED attendances presented immediately after alcohol consumption or as a short-term effect of drinking and that rate had remained the same over a four-year period.

[…]Data for the study was collected in two waves – the first was in 2013, when legislation that gave local councils greater power to restrict the sale of alcohol had not come into affect, and the second in 2017 when the law changes were in place.

In 2017, about 25 per cent of those alcohol-related admissions had consumed more than 15 standard drinks before admission to ED and 18 per cent had consumed more than 20 drinks.

Head researcher James Foulds said that showed that the people who were presenting for alcohol-related reasons were consuming a very high amount.End of quote.

Wow, no shit Sherlock. Quote:

Quote:New laws introduced to curb alcohol harm have failed to make a dent on ED admissions, new research has found.

“And you’d think these were people stumbling out of bars at 2am in the morning but the majority had actually bought alcohol from a liquor store or supermarket and were drinking at a private location,” he said.

The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 allowed local councils the right to adopt their own alcohol policies, which could cover anything from the number and location of licenced premises to trading hours and one-way door restrictions.

[…]But Alcohol Health Watch executive director Dr Nicki Jackson said those laws didn’t include any evidence-based measures that the law commissioner recommended.

“We’ve seen alcohol become more affordable than ever before and we are paying the cost for that in our emergency departments,” Jackson said.

[…]”What we have seen is a shift away from on-licensed liquor to cheap liquor available at off-licensed premises.End of quote.

ie. Supermarkets. Quote:

“The difference off-licence and on-license prices is now huge and putting alcohol next to bread and milk normalises the product.”End of quote.

Shocking. They’ll be putting gut-rot whisky in the candy aisle next. Quote:

Christchurch Hospital ED senior doctor Scott Pearson said the study was very accurate to what he was seeing every day at work.

“We still see quite a lot of alcohol affected individuals that are predominantly after hours and that hasn’t changed in the last five years.”

He said the ED had had more than 5,000 alcohol-related admissions a year and more lately that’s been in addition to synthetic cannabis.

[…]Health Minister David Clark said it was “disturbing but unsurprising” there had been no reduction in alcohol-related presentations at emergency departments.

“New Zealand continues to face significant challenges with alcohol,” he said.End of quote.

Make no mistake. This is a veiled push to get grog out of the supermarkets and from one perspective they’re right. Stopping supermarket sales will mean fewer drunk idiots boozing it up too much at home and having their mates have to call the paramedics.

But here’s the thing. Statistics are meaningless without context. 5000 may sound a lot but the emergency department rate for alcohol is very low, something like 1 to 2% from memory. Putting it in context that’s seven times lower than cannabis. The only other drug that has as low emergency department rate is MDMA (but believe me, that’s another story).

This means that sure, they can take alcohol out of supermarkets but by far the people who will be hurt are responsible drinkers, which is, well, most of us.

Instead of focusing on sales what the government needs to do is focus on the idiots who drink too much and make a pain out of themselves. Where possible get them to pay for any medical treatment if they don’t already. Lump them with heavy fines and even a bit of cell time to let them know it’s not just a hangover they’re going to have to face the next day.

Basically, the wowsers want you to see alcohol abuse as a health issue. It’s not. Calling it a health issue gives those that drink too much a get-out-of-jail-free card. What it is is a behaviour-issue and we need to start making those that behave badly when it comes to alcohol pay for their bad behaviour.