12th May 2017, Volume 130 Number 1455

Taisia Huckle, Khoon Ching Wong, Karl Parker, Sally Casswell

The New Zealand context New Zealand is a high-income country with over 4.2 million residents and a per capita alcohol consumption, for those 15 years of age and above, of…

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Summary

The findings of this study are the first to show the extent of service use because of others’ drinking among the general population in New Zealand. There are considerable numbers of New Zealanders requiring intervention from police or health-related services due to the effects of someone else’s drinking. Heavy drinkers place increased burden on police and health-related services, not only because of directly attributable effects but because they impact others.

Abstract

Aim

To report population estimates of service use because of someone else’s drinking in New Zealand, investigate whether greater exposure to heavy drinkers relates to greater service use and examine demographic predictors of such service use.

Method

A general population survey of respondents aged 12–80 years was conducted in New Zealand. The sample size was 3,068 and response rate 64%. Respondents’ use of police and health-related services because of someone else’s drinking were measured along with self-reports of heavy drinkers in their lives, demographic variables and own drinking.

Results

Ten percent of New Zealanders reported having called the police at least once in the past 12 months because of someone else’s drinking—corresponding to 378,843 New Zealanders making at least one call to police. Almost 7% of the sample, representing 257,613 New Zealanders, reported requiring health-related services at least once for the same reason.

Conclusion

There are considerable numbers of New Zealanders requiring intervention from police or health-related services due to the effects of someone else’s drinking. Further, increased exposure to heavy drinkers among respondents predicted increased service use. Heavy drinkers place increased burden on police and health-related services, not only because of directly attributable effects but because they impact others.

Author Information

Taisia Huckle, Senior Researcher, SHORE & Whariki Research Centre, College of Health, Massey University, Auckland; Khoon Wong, Biostatistician, Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University, Wellington; Karl Parker, Statistician, SHORE & Whariki Research Centre, College of Health, Massey University, Auckland; Professor Sally Casswell, Director, SHORE & Whariki Research Centre, College of Health, Massey University, Auckland.

Acknowledgements

Funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

Correspondence

Dr Taisia Huckle, SHORE & Whariki Research Centre, PO Box 6137, Wellesley Street, Auckland 1141.

Correspondence Email

t.huckle@massey.ac.nz

Competing Interests

Nil.

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