Strategies towards responsible alcohol consumption for adolescents in Europe

Europe has the highest alcohol consumption per capita in the world. According to a study by the World Health Organisation (WHO), on average, each European drinks 9.24 litres of pure alcohol ­every year; more than 20 % of all adults are getting drunk more or less regularly.

When focusing on young adults, this problem becomes more s­evere: According to a recent European school survey on alcohol and other drugs (ESPAD 2012), adolescents in Europe have their first alcoholic beverage on average approximately at the age of 13 - and 12 % of the interviewees also reported having their first alcoholic intoxication at this age. This means that adolescents, who get contact with alcohol, try on risky consumption patterns quite fast.

The European project of TAKE CARE developed new strategies in order to encourage a responsible handling of alcohol by adolescents - and for this the project chose the demanding multilevel approach, which incorporates the parents, key persons and employees in retail, in addition to the adolescents For most project partners addressing four different target groups and still pursuing one goal, has been a completely new experience. The project is designed according to the social environment of adolescents.

The main goals of TAKE CARE:

  • Compliance with legislation regarding the protection of the youth.
  • Motivating young people for a responsible drinking behaviour.

The goals for the specific target groups are:

  • Training the risk competence of the adolescents.
  • Strengthening the educational skills of the parents through a reflected attitude towards the alcohol consumption of their children.
  • Supporting the key persons, so that they are capable of talking about alcohol consumption and initiating constructive talks with the adolescents.
  • Informing and training retailers, caterers and owners of kiosks, so that they become aware of the problem and can act consequently.

The method of the multilevel approach had already been tested
and successfully evaluated between 2004 and 2007 as part of the pilot project SeM (Secondary prevention in a Multilevel approach), which has been developed by the LWL Coordination Office for Drug-related Issues and ran in cooperation with the city of Münster.

More information on this project you will find here.