WDHB urges care with alcohol this school ball season


24 May 2019


With school ball season around the corner, Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) is urging teens, their parents and the wider community to show responsibility with alcohol at before and after parties.


WDHB health promotion officer Chester Penaflor says every year the ball season brings conversations around alcohol, young people and parties.


“I know that on the ground, conversations around school balls and alcohol are already happening.


“The good news is there are things we can do as parents to help reduce the impact of alcohol on our teenagers.


“We know that what we do as parents -- how we communicate our expectations and whether we supply alcohol -- do influence our children’s choices.”


Mr Penaflor says evidence shows drinking alcohol at a young age can cause immediate and irreparable harm to the developing adolescent brain.


“Drinking alcohol at this age may result in learning difficulties, memory problems, mental health issues and other problems later in life such as alcohol abuse and dependency.”


If parents do decide to provide alcohol to under-18s, they need to ensure they have express consent from the other parents or legal guardians of the teenagers involved; that teenagers are actively supervised when drinking; that substantial food is offered; that low or no alcohol beverages are available; and that transportation is arranged.


Supplying alcohol to under-18s without express consent is an offence that can lead to a fine of up to $2000.


Mr Penaflor strongly advises that children and young people under 18 years of age should not drink alcohol at all. He adds that those under 15 years of age are at greatest risk of harm, and so not drinking alcohol in that age group is especially important.


For more information, visit alcohol.org.nz or call the Alcohol Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797 for free advice.