Alcohol Healthwatch worried lockdown drinking will increase family violence

There is a growing call for online alcohol sales to be banned after concerns family harm is increasing under COVID-19 lockdown.

As the nationwide lockdown is about to enter its third week many New Zealanders have been killing their boredom by drinking.

With more bottle stores now opting to sell online, accessing alcohol from the comfort of your home is easier than ever.

But alcohol watch groups are warning an increase in drinking during the lockdown period could cost lives due to it's direct link to family violence. 

The director of Alcohol Healthwatch Dr Nicki Jackson says the risk is greater during the lockdown.

"We know from times of recession, when people are out of psychological distress, under isolation, they drink heavier quantities.

"The evidence is already there. This is a time when anxiety and fear are heightened, and to then put our most harmful drug into that mix is very dangerous."

Alcohol Healthwatch is calling for online alcohol sales to be banned immediately.

A new campaign called 'Drink Normal' has also been recently launched to encourage New Zealanders to stay safe.

Cheers! executive director Matt Claridge says: "Drink normal is about reminding parents they are major influences over their kids, and you just need to drink normal. So the old normal should be the new normal".

The Ministry of Health currently recommends no more than two standard drinks per day for women and no more than three standard drinks for men.

They also recommend at least two alcohol-free days each week.

The campaign is a reminder to everyone to think before you drink. 

Where to find help and support: 

  • Shine (domestic violence) - 0508 744 633
  • Women's Refuge - 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE)
  • Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
  • What's Up - 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)
  • Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
  • Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email or online chat
  • Samaritans - 0800 726 666
  • Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Shakti Community Council - 0800 742 584