A new report has highlighted which regions in New Zealand are facing the biggest issues with alcohol abuse.
The statistics, collated in 2015, show that Canterbury on the North Island was the area worst affected, with 23 deaths directly caused by alcohol abuse. This was closely followed by other North Island locations Waitemata (20) and Auckland (19). Southern Region had the biggest issues on the South Island meanwhile, with 12 alcohol related deaths reported.
The report didn't just look at fatalities, it also looked at hospitalizations caused by dangerous levels of drinking - something that highlighted the serious burden alcohol abuse puts on the healthcare sector.
Auckland was the city with the biggest issues, with 508 people admitted to wards in 2015 alone. It was followed by Waitemata (488) and Canterbury (423), whilst Southern Region again had the biggest issues in the South Island with 321 admissions.
Alcoholism has been named as New Zealand’s ‘accepted addiction’ by experts, with figures showing that 80% of Kiwis regularly drink alcohol, whilst one in ten are classified as alcoholics.
Healthcare leaders are now keen to fight back, with calls made for minimum pricing and stricter advertising and licensing laws.
Dr Nicki Jackson, director of Alcohol Healthwatch, told Newshub.nz: “Our drinking culture remains problematic, with every New Zealander picking up the tab.
“Almost half of all alcohol sold in our country is consumed in heavy drinking occasions, something that paints the picture of our relationship with alcohol.”
Despite battling serious issues with alcohol abuse, New Zealand is one of the most popular locations with Western medics seeking a new life overseas. The country prides itself on high quality facilities and a healthy work/life balance, making it ideal for someone looking to escape from the overworked NHS.