Europeans Learn Responsible Drinking: Fewer Alcohol Problems

Journalist Jeff Frantz reports that Europeans learn responsible drinking. Thus young Europeans are more responsible about drinking than those in the U.S. Here’s his piece.


The 21st-birthday bar tour — it’s a staple of American life.

You blow out the candles, go to a bar, drink, vomit, pass out. You laugh the next day when your friends remind you what happened. It is the ritual — but a distinctly American ritual.

In Europe, age 21 ain’t nothing but a number, and similarly, alcohol does not receive the same cultural stigmas.

In most European countries, drinking ages are either lower or non-existent. For example, someone can drink in Germany or the United Kingdom at 18. And while toddlers are not served, carding patrons is rare.

Also, alcohol is next to soda and crackers.

Different Experience

Europeans learn responsible drinking.Nevertheless, in the minds of some Penn State students from Europe, these differences allow drinking to be a regular part of life and not something reserved for weekend nights.

Consequently, they say that while binge drinking does happen, pounding shots is a less common occurrence.

“You’re able to drink earlier in Europe so you have experiences with alcohol earlier. So when you’re 18, you’re more responsible about it and can take care of yourself and your friends,” said Torben Krueger, a graduate student from Germany.

Basically, it is a difference of philosophy. In Europe, they demystify alcohol and make it less alluring by normalizing it.

“It’s hard to get alcohol [in the US], so when kids get drunk they don’t know how to handle it, because they don’t have access to it at home,” said Michal Jelinek, a graduate student from the Czech Republic.

Europeans Learn Responsible Drinking