Half a million young Spaniards between the ages of 14 and 18 have become muddy in the last month. More than 361,000 are minors. And the age of onset of flirting with this legal drug is reduced every year. Right now it is fixed in Spain at 13.8 years of age. In addition, 32.2% of teenagers binge drink. It is what is known as “binge drinking”. These “absolutely brutal” figures -according to the president of the Fundación de Ayuda a la Drogadicción (FAD), Ignacio Calderón- place alcohol as the preferred substance for young Spaniards.

They are copying increasingly and worryingly patterns of consumption in Anglo-Saxon countries,”Beatriz Martín, the new director general of FAD, told ABC. Yes, 710,494 young people confess to having “mugged” or compulsively consumed alcohol in the past 30 days.

Youths are drinking more and more

The x-ray of this social phenomenon is so worrisome that it has led the Drug Addiction Foundation to lead the “Alcohol and Minors Mobilization” initiative. The project, promoted in 2017 with the support of Obra Social La Caixa, has managed to bring together more than forty organizations with the aim of implementing a coordinated strategy among all sectors of society to try to contain the “tsunami” that has become this massive consumption of alcohol.

These organisations have adopted 132 concrete measures that involve society as a whole in the fight against underage drinking, distributing tasks to all those involved: from parents to manufacturers of alcoholic beverages, including the media, public administrations, health and health personnel, State security forces, educators and members of entities and organizations for the prevention or care of substance use.

This Thursday, Martin and his predecessor in office for 25 years and current FAD vice president, Ignacio Calderon, presented these recommendations to end what has so far been the main burden of the fight against alcohol consumption among minors:”lack of organization” among the various actors.

Does the government care about the problem?

There has not been a serious approach against underage drinking, mainly due to lack of organization,”Calderon said during the presentation. It can’t be that we have to wait for a 12-year-old girl to die before we have everyone for two months hugging and wondering how it’s been possible.

A law that is not as repressive as it is more focused on prevention, education and support for families and that promotes measures to reconcile work and family life are some of the proposals launched by experts on “Alcohol and Minors Mobilization” to combat this worrying phenomenon.

The vice-president of the FAD expressed his conviction that the solution to the problem of underage drinking does not only involve introducing new laws and restrictions, but, firstly, that the law that exists is “complied with” and, secondly, that it is accompanied by an effort by society as a whole to generate a cultural change in the consumption of this substance.