Alcohol and Drug policies for minors in the Netherlands

I have always been very sensible when it comes to this topic. Not only because I lost a friend in a car accident because his reaction was slowed down by too many glasses of all sorts of alcohol, but also because I grew up between two cultures. One where people would only drink a few glasses of wine or beer during meals, and the other, where one would drink alcohol at every social gathering, to an extent that left most people drunk by the end of the event.
When I wrote an article about this on my other blog earlier this year – To drink or not to drink – I received many personal messages and mails. Interestingly only a few had the courage to leave a message under the post.

When I was asked to write an article for a local magazine about alcohol and drug policies for minors in the Netherlands, I found out that policies are quite strict in schools: no alcohol, not even during celebrations. Unfortunately many schools still organize gatherings for families – with obviously minors! – where parents are served beverages containing alcohol. We discussed this among friends and I recognized that this topic is still tabu… Parents want to have their drinks when gathering with friends and colleagues. Most of them don’t think that doing so in front of their children on a regular basis models alcohol consumption as being something very natural and almost a “must”, in fact, refusing a drink seems only to be accepted if you are B.O.B. , “Bewust Onbeschonken Bestuurder” (i.e. designated driver).
You can find my article about drug and alcohol policies in the Netherlands in the ACCESS magazine (p.21-23), with some tips for parents from educators and health practitioners and links to research projects and monitoring campaigns.

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