Hero photograph
Photo by Lesley Brook

Drinking culture

Lesley Brook —

Drink driving is particularly dangerous on rural roads.

New Zealand has an ingrained drinking culture which attaches no stigma to excessive consumption of alcohol. In rural communities, the association between drinking and socialising is particularly dangerous due to drink driving, with no or limited public transport options and open road speed limits resulting in a high death toll from accidents.

This issue was investigated by some of our Nursing students, as a result of their research into the health needs of the South Otago community. They asked what would be effective strategies to help address the problem. They identified that drinking is frequently associated with socialising amongst rugby players and their supporters after a game. This would be a key audience to reach because they are at higher risk of accidents due to drink driving.

The students developed a positive health promotion message that appealed to the value of team responsibility: 

"Take one for the team - Don't drink and drive."

This message could be printed on both sides of a rugby ball, to raise awareness of the issue by connecting with people. A prototype rugby ball was produced and discussed with the community stakeholders for them to consider this initiative.