With No Legal Age, Greeks Start Drinking As Young as 10, Study Finds

September 21, 2020

ATHENS – You can drink at any age in Greece – although you have to be 18 to buy alcohol – and a study has find hitting the bottle begins as young as at least 10, with 6.8 percent of those that age taking their first taste.

And almost 40 percent of 15-year-olds have tried alcohol, said the survey by the University of Western Attica’s biomedical engineering department, reported Kathimerini, drawing some warning signs about the danger.

The legal age for purchase is regularly ignored and it's uncommon to see young children buying beer at kiosks, with no way of knowing whether it's for their parents or them or why the operators sell to them.

Two in three Greeks from 15-30, of the 1,459 respondents in that age group group said they have become drunk and 25 percent said they drove under the influence of alcohol, with 11 percent reporting an accident.

It wasn't said how many road fatalities were in that group but a 2016 European Traffic Safety Council report from three Greek researchers found that the country, along with New Zealand, had the highest rate – 23 percent – of alcohol-related serious injuries in road accidents.

Researchers were said to be especially concerned about how young some are when they try alcohol although it wasn't said how 10-year-olds got their hands on it, whether from buying, in their homes or from others.

“The fact that many young people are starting drinking from an increasingly young age is very worrying and in total opposition to the goal of a society to reduce the use of alcohol, particularly among the young,” the study concluded.


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