Boozing teens just ‘mimicking their elders’
Teenagers drinking large amounts are the victims of New Zealand’s heavy drinking culture and are simply mimicking their elders, according to Doug Sellman, director of the National Addiction Centre and professor of psychiatry and addiction medicine at Otago University. “Drunkeness is viewed as a perfectly normal mental state for both young and older people to be in on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in New Zealand,” he said. “If you’re not drunk, you can’t possibly be having a good time.” Teens were not the only ones to have this attitude to drink-driving. “Young people mimic older people. The heavy-drinking culture in New Zealand is primarily a problem of people over the age of 20, not under 20. Young people are much more the victims of the heavy-drinking culture than they are the cause.” They usually got alcohol from friends and family and it tended to be “very, very easy”, to get, he said.