Gas stations to ban spirits to fight youth binge drinking
The environmentalist Greens and addiction specialists are pushing for new regulations to prevent binge drinking after youth alcohol poisoning incidents reached an all-time high last year.
“Weak agreements within certain branches are superficial blunders that do not solve the problem of youth binge drinking,” Green party spokesperson for youth policies Kai Gehring said in Berlin on Thrusday.
His comments come before a petrol station association meeting with Drug Commissioner Sabine Bätzing to present a new initiative to fight a worrying trend.
“Alcohol is easily available to young people, too cheap, and overly advertised,” Gehring said. “The grand coalition has made no substantial improvements to youth protection laws.”
More than 23,000 young people between 10 and 20-years-old were treated for alcohol poisoning in Germany in 2008. The health insurance company KKH reported that the numbers have gone up by 47 percent since 2001 – costing insurance providers some €15,000. Meanwhile regulators have found that between one-fifth and two-thirds of young people had no problem acquiring spirits despite a ban.
KKH welcomed the initiative to better regulate gas station alcohol sales – which includes a ban on beer and wine sales to those younger than 16 and a complete ban on spirits.
“One should only fill up the auto tank,” spokesperson Rudolf Hauke said. “Coma boozing is anything but cool and often leads directly to an ambulance.”