Denmark: Alcohol Use Rising Among Youth
The trend of declining alcohol consumption in Denmark has gone into reverse with consumption rising among youth, according to a recent survey.
According to newest data, not only, four out of five 15-year-olds have already tried consuming alcohol, but one out of ten 11-year-olds and one out of three 13-year-olds have tried it as well.
Another poll by TV2 has found, one out of five people in Denmark think it is okay for young people to consume alcohol before they are 16 years old.
However, according to a Megafon survey,
- 64% Danish people believe the legal age to buy alcohol should be raised to 18.
- 56% said that children under 16 should not use alcohol at all.
Experts in the field say, the parents’ alcohol consumption and norms around their children’s alcohol consumption can have a major impact on how much young people use alcohol and how early they begin.
Another reason for the rise is easy availability of alcohol. Denmark is one of 12 European countries where people can buy alcohol (beer and wine, but not liquor) before the age of 18.
Alcohol harm for youth in Denmark
The WHO reports alcohol per capita consumption among youth between 15 to 19 years is at 3.2 liters for girls and 9.5 liters for boys.
In terms of heavy episodic alcohol use, over half the male youth across age groups from 15 to 24 years engage in this harmful behavior. It is observable that the binge alcohol use trend increases with the 20 – 24 year old youth across genders.
Alcohol attributable fractions in mortality are significant with 15.9% youth between 15 to 19 years and 23.3% youth between 20 to 24 years dying due to alcohol related reasons.
Denmark needs to increase the minimum age to buy alcohol to decrease availability and improve alcohol price controls to make alcohol less affordable in order to prevent alcohol harm among youth (and the wider population).