Using the English-language slogan “Don’t drink too much – stay gold,” the campaign launched Friday hopes to reverse a growing binge drinking epidemic amongst German youth. The graphic images on beer coasters are supposed to remind teenagers of the consequences of over-imbibing.
One coaster has a picture of a teenage boy, dancing at a party and showing off his washboard abs. The flip side of the coaster shows the same teenager, passed out after wetting his pants. Another coaster shows a drunken football fan sitting in a pool of his own vomit. The coasters will be available for order from local police stations.
“The boozing goes on until they hit a coma,” said Jörg Schönbohm, the Interior Minister of Brandenburg, told news agency DPA.
The binge drinking is fueled by so-called flat-rate, all-you-can-drink parties, that are catching on with German youth. In 2007, 26 percent of German children consumed more than five drinks in a row, the definition of binge drinking, up from 20 percent the year before. More than 20,000 German youth were hospitalized for binge drinking in 2007.
The campaign’s organizers hope to educate teens about drinking responsibly, not ban drinking altogether. The legal drinking age in Germany for beer and wine is 16, for spirits the age is 18.
Some German cities, including Freiburg and Heidelberg have begun banning the public consumption of alcohol in parts of the city in order to combat teen drinking. Berlin officials are considering an alcohol ban on Alexanderplatz, in the city’s center.