POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Strategy to reduce alcohol abuse targets youngsters



One instant result of the action plan on alcohol abuse is to raise the legal age for purchasing spirits from 16 to 18. Shutterstock

One instant result of the action plan on alcohol abuse is to raise the legal age for purchasing spirits from 16 to 18. Shutterstock

The government’s national action plan to tackle the misuse of alcohol has been approved by the Council of State.

Some six years in the making, the government’s action plan against alcohol abuse for the years 2020-24 aims to create supportive environments that allow people to adopt healthy and reasonable drinking behaviour. But it has also singled out specific target groups, including youngsters and pregnant women.

Health minister Étienne Schneider (LSAP), says he wants citizens to be accountable for their alcohol consumption.

The government says that excessive drinking by adults is a major public health issue in Luxembourg, with the proportion of adults reporting episodes of excessive alcohol use--one in three--the third highest in the EU after Denmark and Romania.

On the other hand, only one in seven 15-year-olds in the grand duchy reported being drunk at least twice in their lifetime, which is the lowest proportion in the EU. Nevertheless, as it aims to nip excessive drinking among youngsters in the bud, one instantaneous result of the action plan is that the legal age at which high-alcohol beverages including spirits can be purchased will be raised from 16 to 18. Anyone above 16 will still be able to buy beer and wine.

The action plan also aims to establish an early alcohol abuse detection programme, improve care for abuse victims and to enhance training for professionals who deal in alcohol misuse. The establishment of research projects will also contribute to developing a better understanding of alcohol misuse, Schneider says.