Local authorities should play a more prominent role in efforts to top teenagers drinking so much alcohol, according to the Stap institute, which promotes responsible drinking.
In particular, Stap says it is concerned about ‘all you can drink’ parties, for which the entrance fee covers unlimited alcohol. ‘These parties break the law in every possible way,’ director Wim van Dalen told Radio 1 news on Monday.
The ages of the people drinking are not monitored, people are given alcohol even though they have obviously consumed too much, and youngsters who are already drunk are allowed in to the events in the first place, Van Dalen said.
‘We know that cafes and bars are among the worst at respecting the 18-plus rule,’ Van Dalen said. ‘Councils should be dealing with this, and that means they should use their inspectors in the best way possible.’
A spokesman for the Trimbos addiction clinic told the Telegraaf that ‘all you can drink’ parties encourage excessive drinking because people feel they have to get their money’s worth.
Doctors are also warning that youngsters are mixing alcohol with energy drinks which stops them from falling asleep.
Drinking and smoking under the age of 18 has been banned in the Netherlands since 2014 and those caught offending face heavy fines.
Dutch teenagers have a reputation for being heavy drinkers, compared with their European peers. The number of children hospitalised with alcohol poisoning rose again last year to 783, according to child healthcare monitoring organisation Nederlands Signaleringscentrum Kindergeneeskunde.
In 2012 and 2013, around 700 youngsters aged 10 to 17 were taken to hospital after drinking too much. In 2014, the number of girl drunks outstripped boys by a small margin.
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