A new study by the University of Attica in Greece has found that four in ten adolescents have tried alcohol before the age of 15. These findings show that there is a worrying level of early initiation to alcohol use among Greek children. Nevertheless, alcohol legislation in Greece remains inadequate.

The University of Western Attica’s biomedical engineering department conducted a study among 1,459 young Greek participants aged between 15 and 30 years to assess alcohol use behaviors among Greek youth.

4 in 10
Early initiation of children into alcohol use
4 in 10 children in Greece reported consuming alcohol before the age of 15 – way before the legal age limit.

The study found the following:

  • Four in ten adolescents tried alcohol before turning 15 years.
  • 6.8% tried alcohol before turning 10 years.
  • Two in three of the respondents reported heavy alcohol use.
  • 25% of respondents reported driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • 11% reported being in a vehicle accident while driving under the influence of alcohol.

Alcohol harm on young people in Greece

© World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe 2019

As the World Health Organization Regional office for Europe reports, in Greece

  • among alcohol using adolescents between 15 to 19 years, 41.5% of boys and 10% of girls binge on alcohol, and
  • among alcohol using youth between 20 to 24 years, over half (53.7%) of boys and 17% of girls engage in heavy episodic alcohol consumption.

The harm from alcohol is apparent and pervasive. 19.7% of deaths in adolescents between 15 to 19 years and 23.4% of deaths among youth between 20 to 24 years are caused by alcohol attributable reasons.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is also a serious problem in Greece. As Movendi International previously reported the Hellenic Society of Forensic Medicine (HSFM) found that 35% of Greeks admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol.

Despite the alcohol burden in Greece, specifically affecting children and young people, the WHO reports that the country does not have a comprehensive alcohol policy system. There are some alcohol control measures implemented such as taxation, legal minimum age for consumption and sale, sponsorship and promotion regulations and health warning labels. But as data shows, they remain inadequate.

Comprehensive national alcohol legislation, along with the existing measures, with a focus on the WHO recommended alcohol policy best buys – increasing taxation, restricting access and banning advertising, promotion and sponsorship – would go a long way in reducing the heavy alcohol burden on Greek children and youth.

Source Website: ekathimerini.com