In New Zealand, the Alcohol Advisory Council [ALAC] defines binge drinking as most commonly agreed to be the consumption of six or more standard drinks on one occasion for men, and four or more standard drinks on one occasion for women (University of Victoria, 2005); and a standard alcoholic drink is specified to contain 10 grams of pure alcohol (ALAC, 2013). A substantial fraction of New Zealanders engage in binge drinking. The 2011/12 New Zealand Health Survey reported that 36% of young people, aged between 18 to 24 years, and 15% of adults, aged 24 to 44 years, engage in binge drinking (Ministry Of Health, 2012). ALAC calculated that about 29% of New Zealanders engage regularly in binge drinking (ALAC, 2012). Globally there is a negative association to the concept of binge drinking. The full, WHO (2010) presented in its health bulletin, a number of statistics and studies that linked binge drinking as the cause of an estimated 2.5 million deaths worldwide, of which 320,000 were of people between 15 and 29 years of age. It also associated binge drinking as a global cause of one quarter of all homicides as well as a major contributor of acts of violence, such as physical fights, violent crimes and sexual assaults. In New Zealand around 300 alcohol-related offences are committed every day. The New Zealand Police published that approximately one-third of all Police apprehensions are done to people who had been engaging in binge drinking, with a daily average of 52 individuals or at times larger groups of people being detained in Police custody (New Zealand Police, 2010). The New Zealand Police also linked binge drinking to 50% of all serious violent crimes, 25% of sexual offences and crashes, as well as a third of the family violence cases.
An explanation of why a health promotion programme is needed.
Binge drinking has a negative effect in the health sector also. It is estimated that between 18% and 35% of injury-based emergency admissions are alcohol-related. That number rises to between 60% and 70% during weekends (New Zealand Police, 2010). These negative effects in both the safety and the health sectors create a burden for both the individuals and their societies. Estimates indicate that between 600 and 1000 New Zealanders die each year from alcohol-related causes and that 14% of all New Zealanders will meet criteria for an alcohol use disorder at some time in their lives (New Zealand Police, 2010). All these security, health and social aspects of binge drinking are costing the New Zealand government more than $5 billion a year. These statistics put public pressure on the government to act to minimise binge drinking and its safety, health and social effects, as well as its financial costs. However legislation and regulations alone will not eradicate or alleviate a problem that is founded on the roots of New Zealand culture. As stated by the Ministry of Health (2012), alcohol is widely consumed in New Zealand, with 80% of adults having had consumed alcohol in the past 12 months. Research by ALAC (2004) reported that 50% of New Zealanders believed drunkenness to be socially acceptable. The majority of the participants admitted to drinking in a risky way and 9% of them admitted to binge drinking in their last occasion. In a society like New Zealand, the socialisation process will condition individuals to accept the social belief that binge drinking is tolerated and even celebrated as part of the culture. In turn, individuals’ will embrace and engage in this belief in order to be accepted by other members of this society. This is why an approach like a health promotion programme is needed. The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion n 1987, defined health promotion as the process of enabling people to increase control over the determinants of health, and aim them to improve their overall status of wellbeing by working with the affected individuals and groups within a society to ensure