Results from two surveys show how alcohol harms Danish youth – both due to their own consumption and because of other people’s alcohol use.

A new report by the National Institute of Public Health shows that Danish young people between the ages of 15 to 20 years who binge on alcohol (consuming over five units of alcohol in one occasion) are at a greater risk of having an accident than those who do not.

The data comes from 62,000 young people aged 15 to 20 years. They answered questions about their alcohol habits in 2014 and have subsequently been followed for four years via hospital records to gather information about accidents and episodes of violence.

Recently, the #MeToo movement revealed prominent Danish figures who assaulted young women in the context of parties and alcohol consumption. In the current alcohol norm, alcohol is often present in violent acts against women and is used to facilitate the flaunting of social norms and even harassment, abuse and assaults. Often alcohol is used as an excuse by people to behave inappropriately or violently due to unfair privileges attached to alcohol use.

Danish people are thinking that removing the alcohol excuse is a good idea. A new Megafon survey revealed, 58% Danes agreed that alcohol should not be served where both adults and underaged young people are celebrating together.

Taken together these two separate surveys show how Danish young people’s lives are harmed due to alcohol use, both their own and others. Combined the risk is even higher.

Alcohol harm in Danish youth

© WHO Europe Alcohol Country Factsheets 2019

In terms of binge alcohol use, over half of the male youth in the age between 15 to 24 years engage in this especially harmful behavior. Data also shows that binge alcohol use further increases with the 20 to 24 year old youth across genders.

Alcohol attributable fractions in mortality are significant. 

  • 15.9% of Danish youth between 15 to 19 years are dying prematurely due to alcohol related reasons.
  • 23.3% of youth between 20 to 24 years are dying prematurely due to alcohol related reasons.

The Danish government needs to do more to prevent the alcohol harm among young people in the country. One such measure is increasing the minimum age for alcohol to 18 years. Many community groups, public health organizations and advocates have been repeatedly calling for this action.

Other preventive measures are also necessary to safeguard Danish youth from harm from others’ alcohol use as well. Large scale national campaigns to change the alcohol norms and replace the culture which breeds alcohol harm must also implemented.


CPH Post Online: “Majority of Danes: Ban alcohol when the underaged and adults party together

SDU: “Unge, som drikker ofte, oplever flere ulykker og voldsepisoder