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N Z Med J. 2012 Aug 24;125(1360):11-27.

Alcohol-related harm to others in New Zealand: evidence of the burden and gaps in knowledge.

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  • 1Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, PO Box 913, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand.



To identify and summarise existing New Zealand data quantifying any aspects of harm experienced from the drinking of others.


Surveys, research data, and administrative databases were identified through literature searching, examination of websites of relevant agencies, and direct enquiry among those working in research, government agencies and relevant NGOs. Accessible data were analysed, and published or collated data were summarised.


The prevalence of self-reported harm from others' drinking was higher than harm from own drinking (18% vs 12% in the past year) and was higher in women and young people. Most available data described aggression and crime, and unintentional injury due to traffic crashes and fires. No useable data were obtained on harm to children. Police records suggested that a third to a half of offences involved someone who had been drinking, and alcohol involvement increased with seriousness. Self-reported violence involved a drinking perpetrator in about half of cases; more likely in stranger violence than family violence, but common in both. About 40% of those injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes were not the drinker responsible, and this represented about one in eight of all traffic injuries. Approximately one in eight unintentional residential fire deaths were innocent victims of alcohol-related fires.


The range and magnitude of harms from others' drinking are substantial, but not well described. Shortcomings in the data systems of agencies dealing with people harmed by the drinking of others hamper surveillance, monitoring of effectiveness of interventions and advocacy for policy to reduce alcohol-related harm.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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