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The Spanish government´s drug tsar, Francisco Babín, has this week said that there are no plans to raise the current legal age limit for alcohol consumption, despite the increased concern of alcohol abuse in younger people, and medical evidence that the young brain does not stop maturing until the age of 20, and so, alcohol consumption before this age is even more harmful than those who are older.

The reason for the decision is that the government don´t feel that raising the age would solve the problem, as most young people who responded to a survey in 2012 to 2013, revealed that despite the current age limit of 18, most young people actually start to consume alcohol at around 13.

According to Babín, a School Survey on Drug Use in Secondary School Students, known as ESTUDES, reflected the actual age of alcohol consumption is at 13.9 years, or 4 years earlier than legally allowed, and therefore cannot see how raising the permitted age would make a difference when the rules are already being ignored.

Therefore, the government delegate has opposed the bill prepared by the health department under the head of Minister Ana Mato, suggesting the increase in the permitted age, as it is “no use to fix ages given the evidence, which I do not deny, if the current rules are not met”.

Instead, the Government’s objective is to “harmonize” the legal drinking age in Spain and “increase the risk perception” of alcohol consumption amongst young people, similar to that of other banned substances such as drugs, with the aim for education people to a “zero” rate of consumption, although, in reality, many Spanish schools also suffer problems with illegal drug use at the moment.

The announcement was made during a talk given by the DIANOVA group, which aims to raise awareness about the harmful effects of drinking and drugs in young people. The initiative, present in eleven countries, runs until the end of the school year, in June.

The campaign sees posters and information leaflets distributed throughout the school network, along with four informative films, each featuring a different element of abuse, such as one person addicted to cocaine, another to alcohol, a young boy smoking cannabis and a woman taking anxiolytics.

“Our intention is to show the reality but also give a message of hope to consumers conveying the idea that you can get out of these addictions. Moreover, our aim is to also perform preventive work to avoid treatment costs”, according to the spokesperson for DIANOVA, Santos M. Cavero.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/43304/

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