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, 2016/17 and 2017/18. Hazardous drinking is defined as a score of 8 or more on the 10-question Alcohol Use Disorders Test (AUDIT) [32]. The time-series for this indicator is currently limited to two time-points, due to a change in measurement and resultant break in the previous time-series in 2015/16.

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 and 2017/18. Men were approximately twice as likely as women to report hazardous drinking (29.8% and 12.4%, respectively, in 2016/17, and 29.6% and 13.7%, respectively, in 2017/18; indicating substantial and statistically significant differences by gender at both time-points).

Data Sources

Source: Ministry of Health.
Survey/data set: New Zealand Health Survey to 2018. Access publicly available data from the Ministry of Health website!/home
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: 22/11/2019