Alcohol problem hard to swallow for municipalities, says health development agency ({{commentsTotal}})

A pilot project to draw up guidelines for alcohol policy on a local government level was introduced in Narva on Tuesday. The main aim of the project is to limit alcohol consumption among minors.

A study financed by Norway showed that the majority of school children in three municipalities which were looked at – Kurressaare, Põlva and Põltsamaa – have consumed alcohol. A third of the pupils had purchased alcohol from stores themselves, ERR radio reported.

Triinu Toobal, from the National Institute for Health Development (TAI), said Estonia is very small and there are many possibilities for cooperation. She said not all topics should be the sole responsibility of the state.

After the study, officials in the three local governments formed working groups, opened communication with alcohol sellers and local youths. Lectures were held in schools on the dangers of alcohol. Toobal said the biggest obstacle is admitting to the problem.

“Certainly this is difficult as we saw with the municipalities in the pilot project. For example, journalists had difficulties in wording news that their youths drank too much alcohol, as they did not want to paint a picture that everything is very bad,” Toobal said.

The aim of the project, funded by Norway and supported by TAI, the foundation “Terve Eesti” (Healthy Estonia) and the network of healthy Estonian cities, is to finalize guidelines on alcohol policies on local levels.

Editor: J.M. Laats

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