New Zealand has a problem and not enough is being done about it. Williams says drinking has been "normalised" in New Zealand, clouding the incredibly high risk that alcohol places on our health and several aspects of our well-being.
"The drinking culture and pressures to drink and continue drinking are very persuasive and pervasive," she says.This is from, you will not be surprised to learn, Alcohol Healthwatch director Rebecca Williams who gets paid for having such an opinion.
"There's (sic) very few areas or occasions you can go to in New Zealand where alcohol isn't an expected part of the activity.
"It's seen as an essential element to relaxation, an essential element to social connection and an essential part of all our gatherings, generally."Probably, Rebecca, because alcohol is very good as a relaxant and brilliant for encouraging social connection. Parties at your place must be pretty crap if you aren't comfortable with that.
These trends also worry New Zealand Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell, who believes drinking is "extremely" normalised.
"We celebrate the birth of a child with alcohol and we commiserate the death of someone with alcohol," he says. "It's seen as such a normal thing that people buy it when they do their weekly grocery shop."That's because it is normal, you berk. It's the very definition of the word normal.
Since you are one of the vanishing few who don't subscribe to the consensus, that makes you the one who isn't normal. That's how it works, y'see?
Bell says there's something about humans and the "pursuit of getting out of it".
"Most, not all, cultures have had some form of intoxicant. Part of alcohol's popularity is it does what it says it's going to do. It give you warm feelings and it loosens your inhibitions."Yes, it's been the same throughout the world for millennia, and it's a good thing. So why don't you just piss off and leave people to enjoy what they are clearly happy with?
Dry July's Scott Savidge acknowledges he's not an expert on alcohol - Dry July is first and foremost a fundraiser - but he says our longstanding relationship with alcohol is pretty clear.
"It's so intensely socialised and so embedded in the culture and so freely available.
"People have been eating plants and fermenting things to go to different spaces in their consciousness since the beginning."Indeed, and that is never going to change, so stop trying.
Savidge believes the often-slated youth of today are no worse than other age groups and generations.
"Younger people, students and so on are often targeted or highlighted because they're visible. What people don't see is the large numbers of people who aren't visible who are drinking problematically; the older people who drink at home in a way that's not monitored."Were these people ever young themselves, because I'm struggling to imagine it. And 'monitored'? What sort of fucked up mentality would even consider the idea of monitoring people making free choices in their own homes?
Williams, of Alcohol Healthwatch, says there needs to be drastic action to stop the normalisation of alcohol becoming even deeper entrenched.It's been entrenched for thousands of years, you sour old crone, stop wasting your pathetic life and go do something more constructive for society instead. Like peeling the pavement with your chin.
"The industry says it comes down to personal responsibility, but that's rubbish. It's a mix of personal choices and our environment.
"The environment determines and sustains the culture. Every single review of our drinking habits says we need to restrict advertising of alcohol, yet we do nothing."Every single review? Written by purse-lipped puritans like you, perchance?
Change needs to be made at the population level, she says.
"No amount of education or social marketing will make a significant impact. There's (sic) so many studies and experts that say there needs to be taxation and restricted availability.""So many", as in a few isolated professional miseries amongst millions of people who are quite content with how they choose to live their lives. You're outnumbered by orders of magnitude; you're the outliers here, the abnormal ones, not us, so go boil your heads in chip fat or something yeah?
At the moment, there's too much acceptance of drunken and drugged behaviour, according to Makary.
He cites the drink-driving advertisements with a carload of drunks and one sober driver, implying it's okay to get drunk as long as you don't drive.Yes, because it really is okay. That is just about the sum of it.
Look, I'm not a supreme idealist, I know that people like this have to exist - we've suffered their tedious ilk for just as long as some caveman first sucked on a weather-fermented fruit and knocked himself out - but can politicians please stop taking the hideous fuckmuppets seriously?
Humanity loves alcohol and history proves that will always be the case. Just because a handful of grumpy social outcasts open their miserable gobs once in a while doesn't mean anyone should be listening.