Monday, 21 April 2014

MfD: Young Czechs lead in alcohol consumption

ČTK |
7 October 2010

Prague, Oct 6 (CTK) - Alcohol consumption of underage Czechs is the highest in Europe, according to both European studies, and this is why the government is to approve a new action plan of the fight against alcohol and drugs, the daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes yesterday.

The number of children who get drunk from time to time has been rising in the Czech Republic.

According to polls, three-quarters of 16-year-old Czechs drink alcohol from time to time, and a half of them confessed they had got "plastered," MfD writes.

"Two-thirds of children have drunk alcohol at the age of 12 already," said Jindrich Voboril, who submitted a plan of the fight against alcohol and drugs for the next two years to the government on Tuesday.

The paper writes that the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) comparing results from 17 countries calls the Czech Republic "a mecca for young drunkards."

Along with the Czech Republic, Croatia, Malta, Portugal and Slovakia rank among the countries with a rising trend of alcohol consumption, the study says.

MfD writes that police checks in restaurants and bars have confirmed the study results.

In the first half of 2010 the number of offences connected with child drinking increased from 9,800 last year to 10,900.

This is why the police launched a special raid at the end of August, in which almost 2500 policemen were deployed to check some 2200 pubs and bars in the Czech Republic. They caught hundreds of drunk underage youths. The highest number of them was revealed in the Ustecky, north Bohemia, and Pardubicky, east Bohemia, regions, the paper says.

The poll results are even more alarming in the case of drug consumption, MfD writes.

While one-fifth of the 16-year-old have ever used drugs, including marijuana, in Europe on average, in the Czech Republic it is a half.

"One in six students regularly take hemp in the Czech Republic and on Man Island," the analysis writes.

The decrease in finances for preventive programmes is to blame for the situation in the Czech Republic, Voboril told MfD.

After the collapse of the communist regime in November 1989, high sums were invested in anti-drugs campaigns in fears of drugs flooding in the country. However, since 2000, the volume of finances for these purposes has gradually dropped.

"Another problem is that we are too liberal. The parents alone often offer alcohol to their children," Voboril said.

Moreover, the whole Czech society has problems with drinking, MfD writes.

Czechs consume three times more alcohol on average now than 70 years ago. They drink more wine than in the past but they get drunk by spirits, MfD writes, referring to statistics.

According to the Institute for Health Information, 27,000 alcoholics undergo psychiatric treatment in the Czech Republic at present, while alcohol detoxication centres register 11,000 hospitalisations a year.

Expert in addictions Karel Nespor estimates the number of alcohol addicts at 140,000 in the 10.5-million country. Some 6000 Czechs annually die of causes related to alcohol consumption, MfD notes.

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