Hazardous drinking

Alcohol is the most commonly used recreational drug in New Zealand, and approximately one-in-five people over the age of 15 drink alcohol at levels that may be considered hazardous [31]. Hazardous drinking refers to an established drinking pattern that carries a risk of harming the drinker’s physical or mental health, or having harmful social effects on the drinker or others [32,33]. Alcohol is causally related to over 60 different health conditions and for almost all of these conditions, heavier alcohol use means higher risk of disease or injury (the level of consumption that minimises health loss is zero) [34-36]. It is estimated that between 600 and 1,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year in New Zealand [37].

This indicator presents the proportion of those 15 years and over who are hazardous drinkers, using New Zealand Health Survey data. Hazardous drinking is defined as a score of 8 or more on the 10-question Alcohol Use Disorders Test (AUDIT) [32]. Time-series data for this indicator are not currently available due to a change in the measurement of ‘drinks’ versus ‘standard drinks’ and the resultant break in the time-series.

The figure shows that in the Canterbury DHB region and New Zealand, approximately one-in-five respondents over the age of 15 drink alcohol at levels that may be considered hazardous.

The figure shows that the prevalence of hazardous drinking within the Canterbury DHB region differed by gender in 2016/17. Men (29.8%) were approximately twice as likely as women (12.4%) to report hazardous drinking (a statistically significant difference).

Data Sources

Source: Ministry of Health.
Survey/data set: New Zealand Health Survey to 2017. Access publicly available data from the Ministry of Health website
Source data frequency: Survey conducted continuously with data reported annually. Regional results (pooled data) released every 3 years.

View technical notes and data tables for this indicator.

Updated: 21/11/2018