Consumption of alcoholic beverages alters the ability to perceive and react, which can pose a massive risk to one's own health and that of other road users, especially in road traffic.
It is therefore crucial to sensitize adolescents and young adults to the dangers associated with the consumption of alcoholic beverages and participation in road traffic at an early stage by means of target-group-specific educational campaigns. Early traffic education for children and young people, starting at home, at school and, of course, as part of driver training, makes a significant contribution to this.
Particularly in the group of young drivers, some misjudge their ability at the wheel and are therefore exposed to an increased risk of accidents. An incorrect assessment of the situation in combination with alcohol increases the risk even more. Even though the number of alcohol-related traffic accidents has been falling steadily since 1991, young drivers and novice drivers are still disproportionately involved in alcohol-related accidents. Lack of driving experience, overconfidence, and poor knowledge of the physical effects of alcohol increase their risk.
The road safety prevention initiative "DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE", which the VDS is carrying out together with its partner association, the Bundesverband Wein und Spirituosen International e.V., and other trade associations for alcoholic beverages, is aimed specifically at young drivers. The campaign focuses on education and risk competence, thus providing sustainable support for improving road safety. For more information on DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE, click here.
Protection of minors is a high priority for the VDS. The purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages in Germany is rightly regulated by the Youth Protection Act and linked by the legislator to an age limit. § Section 9 of the Youth Protection Act stipulates that alcoholic beverages may not be sold in public to children and young people under the age of 16. Only after the 16th birthday is the consumption of wine, sparkling wine, beer and corresponding mixed drinks permitted. For strong alcoholic beverages such as schnapps, liqueur, alcopops, and also beverages containing brandy, the age limit is 18.
However, protecting young people is not only a legal obligation for us, but also a moral one.
For the light alcoholic beverages sparkling wine, wine and beer, the age limit of 16 years contributes to the experience of responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages. In most cases, consumption initially takes place at meals together or at private parties in the family environment, accompanied by parents or guardians. These make an important contribution to the gradual learning of responsible and moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages. For young people, drinking alcoholic beverages is often an expression of growing up and being an adult. In the search for borderline experiences, not only the family but also peers and leisure behavior are decisive influencing factors.
Between the ages of 16 and 18, a large proportion of adolescents begin to participate in social life on their own responsibility and independently of their families. Educating young adults to consume alcoholic beverages responsibly requires a society-wide approach. Accordingly, we advocate approaches to solutions that pick up young people through the acquisition of knowledge and not through normative regulations. Moreover, there would be a danger that the appeal of the forbidden could even encourage this age group to increase their consumption. Instead, the aim must be to minimize the risk of abusive use through long-term and sustainable prevention work. In this context, prevention means educational work to raise young people's awareness of the need to deal responsibly with alcoholic stimulants, starting at home and school. There is no alternative to education and prevention.
The question of whether a glass of alcohol during pregnancy is not at least occasionally justifiable leaves no room for interpretation: Any consumption of alcoholic beverages during pregnancy is taboo.
The consequences of alcohol consumption for the unborn child are still frequently underestimated, even in Germany. The developing child in the womb drinks every sip of alcohol consumed by the mother. Nutrients and also ethanol (alcohol) can pass through the placenta and enter the bloodstream and the brain of the fetus unfiltered. However, since neither alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) nor aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), which are necessary for detoxification, are sufficiently developed in the growing baby, the child's liver only insufficiently breaks down alcohol. There is no difference whether the unborn child is in the embryonic stage or in the fetal phase. The brain of the fetus reacts even more strongly to the effects of alcohol. If the cell division should not work on one day, a developmental step is missing. Since brain maturation occurs throughout pregnancy, damage is usually irreparable.
In the worst case, too much alcohol during pregnancy can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and result in a wide range of clinical pictures such as growth disorders, heart defects, speech disorders or hyperactivity in the child. Characteristics such as an unusually small head circumference or deformities in the facial area are typical of alcohol-related damage. According to studies by the Federal Center for Health Education, 80% of those affected by fetal alcohol syndrome are dependent on outside help for the rest of their lives.
Consistent abstinence from alcohol during pregnancy is essential. This is the only way to avoid alcohol-related impairments such as physical, mental-intellectual deficits or psychological abnormalities.
The consumption of alcohol in the workplace is often regulated by labor law. Companies can individually prohibit the consumption of alcohol during working hours or breaks. However, even if there is no generally applicable, legally defined per mille limit for employees, it is better to set your alcohol consumption to zero during working hours.
Because where alcohol is involved, the safety of oneself or others is at risk when operating machinery or vehicles. Likewise, the quality and efficiency of work suffer.
Alcohol in the workplace can sometimes have serious consequences and consequences under labor law, such as a warning or dismissal. Accident insurance coverage can also be voided by a so-called alcohol clause in the event of accidents at the workplace.
Anyone who is active in sports should avoid alcohol before and after training in any case. Under the influence of alcohol, the ability to coordinate and react decreases, which increases the risk of sports injuries. The consumption of alcoholic beverages has a negative effect on the development of strength, speed and endurance. Blood vessels dilate, the heart has to pump harder, the body cools down more quickly and loses energy. In addition, the dehydrating effect of alcohol ensures that the body has already lost fluid before the fitness program. Increased sweating due to physical exertion leads to further dehydration of the already dehydrated organism and thus to the loss of minerals.
It is also not a good idea to quench your thirst with alcohol immediately after exercise. Since alcohol deprives the body of water, metabolic processes that are necessary for muscle growth and regeneration can otherwise only take place to a limited extent. Ideally, a few hours should elapse between athletic training and the consumption of an alcoholic beverage.
With a moderate and conscious attitude, the consumption of alcoholic beverages and sporting activities can be effortlessly reconciled.
Due to interactions, many medications are not compatible with alcohol. Anyone who is ill or taking medication should not drink alcohol and should seek advice from a doctor or pharmacist.
Some drugs inhibit the enzyme that is important for the breakdown of alcohol, and the resulting intermediate product acetaldehyde cannot be broken down further and accumulates. Delayed alcohol and drug degradation and toxic metabolites are the result. Other drugs increase or decrease the effect of a drug in combination with alcohol or lead to unforeseen side effects. In the case of sedating medications, the simultaneous influence of alcohol can even cause life-threatening consequences. Therefore, it is generally not advisable to combine alcoholic beverages and medication.