Serious crime, that in most cases remains unpunished
Prim. MUDr. Karel Nešpor and PhDr. Ladislav Csémy
Alcohol abuse in children and adolescents reached alarming proportions in the Czech Republic and poses a serious risk to their development, health and future career. In the age group of 13–15 years, more than 75 thousand children drank alcoholic beverages once a week or more often. This number contrasts with the low number of persons prosecuted under § 204 of the Penal Code for furnishing alcoholic beverages to minors. According to police statistics of 2012, only 101 of such cases were investigated.
As for alcohol consumption, Czech children are one of the most vulnerable in comparison to the rest of the world. There are several reasons that include low price of alcohol and inadequate and poorly enforced legislation. Selling, providing or supplying alcohol to a minor is punishable under Act No. 379/2005 Coll. In addition, legal recourse can be taken in accordance with the Penal Code. According to § 204 (Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor), “Repeat offenses (selling, providing or supplying alcohol to a child in a larger amount) are punishable with imprisonment up to one year.”
We were interested in the ratio of the number of children and adolescents who drink alcohol repeatedly, and the number of prosecutions of perpetrators who committed this serious criminal offence.
In Table 1, the occurrence of regular drinking in school-aged children and adolescents is presented. Data are based on the Czech section of the international HBSC study – Youth and Health (Kalman et al., 2011). Regular drinking was considered drinking any kind of alcoholic beverage once a week or more often. The first 3 columns of the table contain the percentage occurrence of regular drinkers (as specified before). From the data, it is clear that every 6th 13-year-old respondent admits regular drinking of alcoholic beverages. In the group of 15-year-old respondents, regular drinking admitted every 3rd respondent. In the last column, the conversion to the 13-15-year-old age group is presented. Data in this column show that regular drinking has become part of the lives of thousands of school-aged children.
Volume 2 Issue 3/2013 Full text zpět