Sweden Fighting Teenage Alcohol Abuse

May 4, 2010 Updated: May 4, 2010

GOTHENBURG, Sweden—The attitude of parents is a vital factor in the fight against alcohol abuse among teenagers Swedish agencies say. The Swedish National Institute of Public Health has joined forces with national police in a year-long campaign against buying alcohol for teenagers.

The campaign, called Rethink, was launched last week just before the Walpurgis festival, a traditional celebration in Central and Northern Europe. Many teenagers taste their first alcoholic drink during this time. According to Swedish law, it is not illegal to drink alcohol under 18, but it is illegal to provide it to anyone below that age.

Youngsters get their alcohol, one way or another, through adults. Some parents buy alcohol for their under-aged children under the pretext that they would have control over their children’s consumption.

Swedish chief of police, Bengt Svenson, said alcohol consumption and violent crime are connected; and reducing drinking among under-aged youngsters is an important part of crime prevention.

Research shows that alcohol intoxication is harmful to children, and according to the Swedish National Institute of Public Health, parents who set strict rules for their children’s alcohol consumption could see their offspring leading a healthier life.

The Rethink campaign aims to inform parents with teenage children about their responsibilities as well as strengthen their capability to influence their children.