Can't find something? Search Here.

Milan to Fine Parents of Underage Drinkers

Posted in Alcohol Abuse

In Milan, parents of children who drink in public or are caught with alcohol will be fined 900 Euros under an emergency law designed to curb binge drinking in Italy.

The UK’s Times Online reports that 34 percent of 11-year-olds in Milan had problems with alcohol, according to Milan’s city council. Letizia Moratti, the mayor of Milan, said that the measure—the first of its kind in Italy—was in “response to an emergency.”

An Italian law already bans the sale of alcohol to those under 16 in bars but is rarely enforced. Many young people buy hard alcohol from supermarkets. The ban reflects a radical change in a culture in which children traditionally drink wine at mealtimes. In the past decade pubs have sprung up in Italian towns, often brining with them a previously unknown culture of heavy drinking.

The Health Ministry said that most Italians had their first encounter with alcohol at the age of 12, two or three years earlier than in most European countries. A sixth of hospital admissions for alcohol abuse involved youth under age 14. Pollsters recently discovered that six out of ten young people said they have set out to “drink themselves into a stupor.”

The new measure will have a trial period of 120 days. The fine, which increases to 500 Euros if not paid within five days, also applies to people who supply alcohol to children.

The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, encouraged other cities to follow Milan’s “excellent example.” The Pope also urged young people to “overcome the temptation of an easy and illusory life.”