Although recent statistics indicate that total alcohol consumption in Europe is falling, European citizens are still the highest consumers of alcohol in the world. Furthermore, worrying trends are emerging in relation to under-age drinking, binge-drinking and drink-driving, with the EU’s own statistics on the economic and social cost of alcohol related harm making sobering reading:
- Alcohol responsible for 7.5% of all ill-health and early death in EU
- 60 acute or chronic diseases caused by excessive alcohol consumption
- More than 10,000 deaths a year are due to alcohol-related road accidents
- Tangible economic cost in Europe of over €125 billion
Whilst overall adult consumption is decreasing, with alcohol becoming more affordable in nearly all member states in the last decade, there has been a steady rise in harmful drinking patterns, particularly amongst younger people. Unless policymakers across Europe act quickly, this alarming trend in under-age drinking and binge drinking will have adverse long term effects on young people’s lives and future development.
Campaigns to raise awareness, an understanding of the underlying social consequences and better access to education are all steps towards reversing this trend. Developing a methodology that involves all relevant authorities in young people’s lives such as schools, public health organizations, local government and NGO’s is crucial. Coordination at national and EU level could result in a stronger regulatory framework preventing the access of alcohol to minors as well as better awareness campaigns.
This International Symposium will gather comparative experience and best practices in early intervention strategies based around young people and their families, and other key consequences of under-age drinking such as anti-social behaviour and drink-driving. It will also discuss the potential role of national governments and regional authorities in supporting campaigns to combat the issue and the dissemination of lessons learned from different European countries.
The Centre for Parliamentary Studies welcomes the participation of all key partners, responsible authorities and stakeholders. The Symposium will support the exchange of ideas and encourage delegates to engage in thought-provoking topical debate.