Czech Govt Moves to Step Up Fight Against Alcohol, Gambling
The Czech Republic’s government has decided to curb access to alcohol and gambling in a bid to reduce their negative impact on young people and adults alike.
CTK news agency reported on Monday that the cabinet has approved amendments to the national anti-drug policy, replacing the word "drugs" in the document by "addictive substances and gambling."
According to official data, the consumption of pure alcohol per capita including infants was 9.9 litres in 2012, ranking the Czech Republic among the countries with the highest levels of alcohol consumption per capita.
Fifteen percent of adults drink alcohol daily or every other day.
Czech 16-year old youths drink more than teenagers of the same age in other countries. While about 14% of young Czechs had got drunk at least three times a month in 1995, in 2011 the ratio had risen to 20%, official figures showed.
According to national anti-drug coordinator Jindrich Voboril, alcohol consumption is also rising among elementary school children. Legislative amendments will toughen the sanctions for giving alcohol to the underage, he told reporters, as quoted by CTK.
Alcohol is believed to be responsible for about 6% of deaths in the Czech Republic. The treatment of alcohol-related diseases cost CZK 2.6 B (USD 117 M) in 2007.
Easy access to gambling facilities in the Czech Republic is also a reason for concern, the document read.
With 7.5 gambling machines per 1,000 inhabitants in the Czech Republic in 2013, up to 170,000 adults may face problems with gambling, while 80,000 of them may have developed addiction.
In comparison, there were 3.7 gambling machines per 1,000 inhabitants in Slovakia, three in Germany, 0.6 in Poland and 0.3 in Austria.
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