Slovenia: Campaign to Curb High Alcohol Consumption
The campaign ’40 days dry’ was launched for the 14th consecutive year, to urge Slovenians to abstain from alcohol for 40 days leading to Lent. The campaign is conducted in response to the high alcohol consumption rates in the country.
Organized by Slovenian Caritas, the Slovenian Traffic Safety Agency and the prevention organization Med.Over.Net Institute, the campaign creates public awareness on the harms of alcohol.
The campaign supports all those who are suffering from alcohol related problems, including disease, accidents, health problems and violence.
Pervasive alcohol harm
In Slovenia at least 1000 people die every year because of alcohol related reasons. In the last five years driving under the influence of alcohol has caused 7907 traffic accidents leading to 157 deaths and 732 gravely injured. Further damage is caused by alcohol fuelled violence. Unemployment and poverty are also part of the harm caused by alcohol.
Alcohol poses a significant economic burden for Slovenia. The health costs related to alcohol for the period between 2012 to 2016 are estimated at a €147 million per year. Including other related costs, the economic burden rises to €228 million annually.
The ambassador for this year’s campaign Igor E. Bergent stressed the importance of a zero tolerance policy for alcohol while driving and working, and the need to be role models for children.
Slovenia’s stance on alcohol consumption has always been over-tolerant and therefore problematic,” said Igor E. Bergent, 2019 camapaign ambassador, as per Total Slovenia News.
Alcohol Use is Slovenia
The level of alcohol consumption is high compared to the average for the WHO European region, with a further increasing trend. Heavy Episodic alcohol use is staggeringly high where 65.2% of youth between 15 -19 years engage in this harmful behavior. The negative impact, especially for men is observable as Slovenian men suffer from both alcohol use disorders and alcohol dependence alarmingly more than other countries in the region.
Strengthening policy and regulation would be beneficial for Slovenia to change their alcohol norm and to better prevent and reduce the health, social and economic harms of alcohol for the country.