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Efforts to curb youth drinking 'ineffective'

Vivian Tse · 1 Nov 2010, 12:59

Published: 01 Nov 2010 12:59 GMT+01:00

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In addition to financial contributions, the state has also implemented measures to strengthen local enforcement of alcohol laws, but a new investigation by the Swedish National Audit Office (Riksrevisionen) suggests that it is uncertain whether these efforts have had an impact on youth drinking.

"The investment has to a certain extent yielded positive results. Children and young people were given priority and there is a better structure for preventative work. However, the government should, to a greater extent, direct subsidies and supervision toward measures resulting in reduced supply and demand of alcohol among young people," Auditor General Gudrun Antemar said in a statement.

Youth alcohol consumption has decreased in recent years. However, it is highly uncertain whether the decrease can be linked to the preventative efforts undertaken at the regional and local level through state aid, the agency pointed out.

"It is difficult to see the connection between alcohol prevention efforts and changes in alcohol consumption. It is also true that the authorities, municipalities and non-profit organisations have made use of state aid in a such a way that the effects would have been difficult to achieve and read," the organisation said in a statement.

"They invested money on measures which have no proven effects on alcohol consumption," it added.

The agency based its data on last year's survey "Students' drug habits" from the Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs (Centralförbundet för alkohol- och narkotikaupplysning, CAN). According to the survey, alcohol consumption fallen overall, among both adults and children, during the past decade.

Girls aged 16 drank 2.9 litres of alcohol in 2000 and 2.1 litres in 2009. The corresponding amounts for boys were 4.6 litres and 3.2 litres. The percentage who do not drink at all has also increased from 33 percent to 48 percent among boys and 25 percent to 36 percent among girls from 2000 to 2009.

The agency also believes that county administrative boards should focus on fewer, larger and longer-term projects. The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) and county administrative boards should prioritise projects and methods that have proven effective.

They should also improve following up on the requirements imposed on municipalities and non-profit organizations as beneficiaries of state aid, the agency said.

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The agency also alleged that the county administrative boards and the Swedish National Institute of Public Health (Folkhälsoinstitutet) have not been sufficiently active and transparent in their oversight roles.

The agency recommends that the county administrative boards increase their concentration in gradual steps on oversight in terms of how the municipal alcohol enforcement affects youth access to alcohol.

The state gives priority to children and young people in its alcohol policies. One of its goals is an alcohol-free upbringing. After 10 years, the state has focused in particular on alcohol prevention among municipalities, including state aid to prevention projects and investments to strengthen local government oversight.

Vivian Tse (vivian.tse@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:31 November 1, 2010 by here for the summer
Am glad that Sweden has programs to address this problem. I liken this to the smoking issue. Over the last 15 years I have seen a decrease in smoking and attribute some of it to the state involvement via ads and education . For this efforts I think focusing on binge drinking instead of just liters per year would also be more useful. There are many dangers in being drunk at any age and not so much danger in having even one beer or wine even on a daily basis.
16:16 November 1, 2010 by zooeden
135 million bucks!!! What a waste, were the feminist occupying that job and burned out the money or what???

The programs should not be focused towards idiotic spots on tv or absolute retard websites where they show you how wrong and bad alcohol is to younger individuals. It begins at home and while is ok at home to get paralized drunk every friday and saturday the whole story wont stop.

And while this dubious study comes in light is a wonderful way pf reinforcing the monopoly of systembolaget... well whatever...
00:00 November 2, 2010 by beam_me_up
Agree with you completely, zooeden! Kids here learn that normal adult behavior is when you drink, you MUST get drunk.
00:16 November 2, 2010 by jack sprat
Agree that the student survey must be very dubious regarding accuracy at the very least and is unlikely to paint the full true picture.

In addition plenty of kids have access to H.B. or illicitly stilled,to make into their own alcopops and probably haven't even a clue how many units they drink
00:17 November 2, 2010 by eZee.se
Yep, silly programs work...because kids love to be patronized.

When was it exactly the state's responsibility to look after your kid?

Perhaps if had spent that nearly billion kronar teaching the kids parents things they would have seen some positive results.
04:45 November 2, 2010 by Jarvilainennen
What ARE these measures the money was spent into?

This article doesn´t give too many (none, actually) clues as to where the this money is being spent.

"It is diffucult to see the connection between alcohol prevention efforts and changes in alcohol consuption."

So what are these "measures" and "efforts" in practice?
06:57 November 2, 2010 by ooh456
I think it's great that kids are drinking despite the government's attempt to poison their minds with hypocritical propoganda.

Unless kids are fighting or acting violently I honestly don't see the problem. Binge drinking is the Swedish way... and no amount of stupid TV ads is going to change that.
07:23 November 2, 2010 by Jarvilainennen

Ok, so I´m guessing it´s TV-campaigns and such. Of course kids are told in schools about dangers of exessive alcohol use and it´s a good thing. But can´t imagine 135 mil. going into that.

I´d say binge drinking habit as a 16 year old is not a very good idea at all. But it´s the parents that have the responsibility of growing their kids to "normal" alcohol use.

I don´t know anymore, but when I was 16-22 there were places young people could fix their mopeds, cars and such. I have no idea if these are still in operation, but 135 millions would buy miles of mig-welding thread and sheet-metal. These were free of charge and kept my first car roadworthy so I could get to work as I was starting my work life.

Do you have these shops in Sweden?
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