YOUNG people usually get drunk for their first time on the day they complete primary school (at the age of 14-15), according to a survey carried out by the TNS Slovakia agency for the Heineken Slovensko brewery.

“This period is usually associated with the first booze-up, which is in turn related to a lack of experience and to consuming mainly strong alcohol,” Katarína Procházkova of TNS Slovakia told the TASR newswire. According to the survey, which canvassed opinions and experiences of youngsters between 15 and 18 years of age, young people are attracted to drinking, as they believe that it will ensure fun for the entire evening.

Moreover, those who do not drink alcohol seem to have problems blending into a group. “It’s sad that refusing to drink alcohol is viewed as a disadvantage,” Procházková said. “While it’s generally accepted, it is often the case that those who don’t drink are automatically on the fringes of the group. Others tend to view non-drinkers as less sociable.”

Procházková added that some of the respondents even claimed that they do not know anyone within their circle who does not drink alcohol at all. Mária Martinove, the head of the OLUP psychiatric treatment facility at Predná Hora (in Banská Bystrica Region), specialising in addiction treatment, added that drinking too much alcohol at a young age has a devastating effect on the psychological development of a young person.

“The intellect of a young person develops up to approximately the age of 16, and the person is fully mature between 20-22 years of age on average,” she said. “If alcohol interferes with this process, it can lead to negative alterations in the development of intellectual abilities and changes in character.”