Long awaited alcohol reform: Psychiatrists back Alcohol Amendment Bill

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) tautoko Green MP Chlӧe Swarbrick’s The Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Harm Minimisation) Amendment Bill, which has been successfully drawn from the ballot for debate in the New Zealand Parliament.

‘Alcohol harm remains the most pervasive addiction problem in New Zealand,’ said Associate Professor Susanna Every-Palmer, Chair of Tu Te Akaaka Roa – the New Zealand National Committee.

‘Excessive alcohol consumption has significant health and wellbeing impacts on individuals, families, whānau and communities. We need a public health focus on reducing alcohol harm'.

Dr Sam McBride of the New Zealand Faculty of Addiction Psychiatry stated: ‘There is a strong relationship between alcohol and poor mental health, which occurs through many pathways'.

‘Alcohol is directly associated with development of depression and anxiety as well as being used as a means of managing distress associated with these conditions. Its use has been associated with suicide and self-harm'.

‘Alcohol can also contribute to traumatic events for children and adults, such as assaults and abuse, which negatively affect mental health outcomes. These findings have been repeatedly stated by different bodies'.

The RANZCP’s submission on the 2019 Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction – He Ara Oranga, recommended a cross-government approach to developing legislation to increase the price, curtail access and promotion of alcohol, and raise the drinking age to 20 years.

‘Alcohol law reform is the need of the hour; it has been for years'. said Associate Professor Every-Palmer. 

For all other expert mental health information visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

ENQUIRIES: For more information, or to arrange an interview call +61 437 315 911, or email media@ranzcp.org

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is a membership organisation that prepares medical specialists in the field of psychiatry, supports and enhances clinical practice, advocates for people affected by mental illness and advises governments and other groups on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit www.ranzcp.org.

In Australia: If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au or the Suicide Callback Service on 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.

In Aotearoa New Zealand: If you or someone you know needs help, 1737 is here to help, for free - Mental Health. You can also contact Lifeline NZ on 0800 543 354 or www.lifeline.org.nz or the Suicide Crisis Helpline on 0508 828 865 or www.lifeline.org.nz/suicide-prevention.

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