Many people enjoy a drink every now and again, but for a surprising number of New Zealanders alcohol can also cause a lot of problems; more than 120,000 kiwis suffer some kind of alcohol-use disorder, and many more are affected by other alcohol related harms.
Among people who have consumed alcohol in the past 12 months, one in five have hazardous drinking patterns. That is about 532,000 people.
Alcohol is the cause of 1 in 20 deaths of New Zealanders aged under 80. That’s around 800 deaths a year.
At least a third of all police recorded offences are committed by an offender who has consumed alcohol prior to committing the offence. That’s an average of 340 offences per day.
Studies have estimated that the social cost of drinking alcohol in New Zealand is $4.9 billion per year. That’s over a thousand dollars per person.
FebFast is an opportunity to take stock, and to reflect on the role alcohol plays in their lives. It’s about having an opportunity to take a break, and to discover a world without alcohol. At the same time, it’s a chance to support some of the many New Zealanders who find that alcohol causes more harm than good.
FebFast participants tell us all the time how good they feel about giving up alcohol for the month. Some of the common reasons people give for participating include having a chance to give their bodies a break after a hectic festive season, to feel more alert, to lose weight, to save money, or to generally improve their health.
It was good stepping back, creating some space for healthier habits to evolve.
I've lost 2kgs so far.
For many people though, the best part of FebFast is the warm feeling that comes with making a positive contribution to those who are most affected by alcohol. Over the past 4 years, FebFast has contributed over a quarter of a million dollars to reducing the harm to the society caused by alcohol.