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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: PR Dept

How You Drink Impacts You and Your Children – Online happy hour and internet drinks might be part of the ‘new normal’ for some but responsible drinking advocate Cheers NZ says lockdown shouldn’t mean drinking up.

Today it will launch a digital campaign to remind all Kiwis to #drinknormal during lockdown – keeping to their usual drinking habits and following Ministry of Health guidelines – and for parents to be aware of their drinking, especially in front of their kids.

Cheers is an initiative funded by the alcohol industry and spokesman Matt Claridge says the COVID-19 lockdown has seen a rise in Kiwi parents opting for online happy hour style drinking sessions with their friends through face-to-face social network apps, such as Houseparty.

“What we know from our research is that parents are the greatest influencers on the drinking behaviours of their children who adopt the attitudes and relationship their parents have to alcohol.

“If a parent regularly reaches for the bottle as stress relief – or indulges in a few more drinks than they should – their child is likely to develop a similar relationship to alcohol.

“A drink now and then is fine, but it’s important – especially during this lockdown period – that you think about why and how you’re drinking alcohol in front of your kids.”

With the anxiety and pressures of self-isolation, COVID-19 related job losses, business closures, and even just being with family for such a long period of time, many people might drink more than they should, Mr Claridge says.

“Mental health is important for parents and there are many ways to relieve stress. Research tells us that we change our drinking personality when under stress and drink to escape. The reality is, alcohol won’t change the situation.”

Claridge says the campaign will provide advice and support for parents during the lockdown. “The message is simple: mind your drinking during lockdown. In times of stress, it’s easy to fall into bad habits – like drinking more than you usually do – and for parents, this can have a negative impact on the young people at home with you.

“We all know how important socialising is and coming to terms with lockdown is difficult. One or two drinks is normal for most. So, we’re taking this opportunity to remind New Zealanders about the recommended drinking guidelines and how alcohol can have side effects that might make lockdown more difficult to deal with.”

The Ministry of Health recommends limiting alcohol consumption to no more than two standard drinks per day for women (and no more than 10 per week, with at least two alcohol-free days per week) and no more than three standard drinks per day (and no more than 15 per week with at least two alcohol-free days per week) for men.

Says Mr Claridge: “We recommend visiting https://cheers.org.nz/drink-normal/where you’ll find more information and resources about drinking during lockdown and your health.”

Cheers is a responsible drinking campaign run by the charity The Tomorrow Project, an alcohol industry-funded organisation committed to helping to create a safe and responsible drinking culture in New Zealand through evidence-based, targeted interventions that address the reasons behind problem drinking.

MIL OSI