The World Health Organisation (WHO) ranks Slovakia among countries with a high alcohol consumption, along with Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Slovenia.
Yet the data of the Slovak Statistics Office show that Slovaks are now drinking less than they used to in the past.
“The annual consumption of pure alcohol per Slovak was 10.4 litres in 1990, while it was 8.7 litres in 2015,” reads the updated national action plan for tackling alcohol-related problems, authored by the Health Ministry and passed by the government at its October 25 session, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
Those aged between 15-18 years also drink less, according to the Statistics Office data. In 1990 their annual consumption was 13.9 litres, while it was 10.2 litres in 2015, which was below the EU average. Slovaks in this age category drank 4.2 litres of pure alcohol contained in spirits, 3.4 litres from beer and 2.6 litres from wine on average in 2015.
“We want to remain below the EU average and continue to reduce pure alcohol consumption, especially in the 15-18 age group,” reads the action plan, as quoted by TASR.
Men drank more often than women, the 2014 data from the European Health Interview Survey (EIHS) suggest. Meanwhile, 3.1 percent of Slovaks drank alcohol on a daily basis that year.
“Some 11.4 percent of the Slovak population admitted to binge drinking every month,” the action plan reads, as quoted by TASR.
The ministry admits that schools have failed to discourage children aged 11-14 years from drinking alcohol.
“The average age of first contact with alcohol, and there has been a failure to increase this, is around 10, even though schools organise plenty of preventive events,” the Health Ministry stated.