Alcohol consumption can become a problem when it is consumed in public places, in certain settings or at events. 

Although the majority of alcohol is consumed in private homes and within on-licences (bars, restaurants, etc), there are also a number of other settings where drinking occurs. This includes public outdoor spaces (e.g. parks, beaches), workplaces, public events (e.g. music festivals), tertiary settings, sports and others clubs, etc.

‘It is widely recognised that the environments in which we live, work, learn and play impact in a significant way upon the way we live our lives. This has certainly been shown to be the case in terms of the various ways in which the wider environment can influence alcohol use.’ [1: piii].

Alcohol consumed in places which are available to the public (where consumption is often uncontrolled), can present many problems:

  • Intoxication in public places can result in assaults, aggressive behaviour, and crime.
  • Alcohol use  can also decrease the quality or attractiveness of the public space in terms of noise, vandalism, property damage, and  alcohol-related litter (broken bottles, cartons, etc). 

This section will guide you to take action on any concerns you have about alcohol being consumed in public spaces.

Remember if the problem is occurring now and you are concerned about the safety of yourself or others - please call the Police.

Alcohol in public places

Drinking in public places is associated with significant harm and disorder and is an important setting to address to reduce alcohol-related harm. Public places includes parks, reserves, beaches, streets, etc.

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Alcohol at public events

Alcohol consumption can cause problems at events – this is often due to intoxication. Drunken behaviour can easily disrupt an event and spoil the event for you and others.  If the event is attended by young people it can also expose them to poor behaviour and role modelling as well as alcohol marketing and promotion.

Read this section if you are concerned about the way alcohol is managed at public events you attend or have attended events where problems have arisen. This includes music festivals, cultural and social events, arts performances, and so on.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Alcohol in schools / tertiary settings (e.g. Universities)

Education facilities such as schools and universities play important roles in protecting and promoting the health and well-being of children and young people.  

Given the high levels of alcohol harm experienced by young people and young adults, it is very important that these settings promote wellbeing rather than increase the risk in these vulnerable groups. 

For example, schools play other important functions in communities, and are often a hub for community gatherings and these sometimes involve alcohol. Some schools have licences to sell/serve alcohol, others use alcohol sales as a fund-raising activity. School Balls have also caused concern.

Tertiary students are among our heaviest drinking groups in New Zealand, putting them at increased risk of alcohol-related harm as well as failing to reach their academic potential. Orientation and other university student events, and student-oriented bars sometimes serve to highlight this.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Alcohol in workplaces

Alcohol consumption has serious implications for both employers and employees in workplaces.  This can range from death and injury as a result of impairment, to absenteeism and lost productivity, and general low morale of the work force.

Some workplace settings have higher safety risks - these include construction, manufacturing, forestry and those where driving/machine operation are a key component of the activities. Workplaces where there is a high level of stress can also contribute to alcohol use.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Alcohol in sports and other clubs

Sports and other clubs form an integral part of any community.  They can provide a place for building knowledge and skills, fitness and physical activity, cultural or artistic expression as well as social connection.  Clubs often provide essential facilities and activities for children and young people so it is important to ensure these environments are safe and supportive of good health and wellbeing.

However, alcohol consumption can sometimes undermine these benefits and threaten the viability of the club.  For example, problems can arise if one or more of the members are bringing their problematic drinking into the club environment, spectators are drinking prior to and/or during the game, or after-match functions or club events involve heavy drinking.

Taking Action to address any alcohol problems associated with clubs will largely depend on your relationship with the club.  If you are a member you can work from within the club, where as if you are not a member you will need to find alternative avenues.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Alcohol and the great outdoors

Our mountains and other wide open spaces - beaches, rivers and lakes, our flora and fauna - are all part of what makes New Zealand unique and beautiful.  They are often home to many of our cultural and environmental taonga.

They also present a number of inherent risks to users. This requires us all to take special care to enjoy them safely and to preserve their beauty and value.  

Alcohol use in these places can cause problems. These can range from serious risk to health and safety, to damage to property and facilities, to noise and nuisance.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Alcohol in Marae

Alcohol in churches (especially Pacific churches)

Church settings are commonly used to promote healthy behaviours. In New Zealand, most church-based health programmes have been conducted in churches mostly attended by Pacific peoples.

This section focuses on church-based strategies to reduce alcohol-related harm. 

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

 

Alcohol in the home

In New Zealand, 75% of all alcohol is purchased from off-licensed premises and consumed elsewhere, often in private settings/homes.[1]

Unlike drinking in supervised environments (bars, nightclubs, restaurants, etc), drinking in and around the home is relatively unrestricted and uncontrolled. The home environment also has a significant influence on young peoples’ experiences and exposure to alcohol.

Ensuring our homes provide the safest possible drinking environment can significantly reduce the risk of alcohol-related harm.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

 

References - Places & Events

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