Daily Die Welt reported on Wednesday that new government figures revealed that in 2008, more than 2,400 girls aged between 10 and 15 had to be treated in hospital for alcohol poisoning. For boys, the figures was 2,100.
“For a long time we have assumed that alcohol dependence is a typically male problem,” Mechthild Dyckmans, the federal government's drug commissioner, told the paper. “But now we know that a significant number of women are also affected by it.
The Health Ministry commissioned the first full investigation on the drinking behaviour of women.
“Especially frightening is the rise in alcohol consumption by girls in the ages of 10 to 20 years and women from 40 to 59 years,” Dyckmans said.
About 1.3 million people in Germany are alcoholics – among them 370,000 women.
While alcohol consumption has on the whole fallen in the past 30 years, more people now drink to excess. The Health Ministry has begun a campaign to fight the problem, though some experts are already questioning the usefulness of such approaches.
“Our studies show that young people are not influenced by them,” said Heidi Reinl of the Tübinger Institute for Women's Policy Research.
Reinl has investigated the drinking behaviour of youths aged 12 to 17.
“Young people want to have fun, test themselves and experiment. That happens with binge drinking,” she said.
Campaigns were unlikely to change this fact, she said.