Alcoholism on the Rise in Italy
Drinking alcohol has been spreading among Italian youngsters recently. A report that was published last month shows that 42% of all boys and 18% of girls under 18 are binge drinkers, especially on weekends.
About 1.5 million young Italians between 11 and 24 are in danger of becoming alcoholics. Italians who are treated for alcoholism has gone up in the past 10 years to 60,000 , about 0.1% of the population.
For a long time Italians have been a nation of people who enjoyed their glass of wine when they ate out at a restaurant. Getting drunk in public has been a shameful event, especially for women. Today traditional wine bars and cafes are being replaced by British-style pubs.
Organized pub tours have become very popular in Rome, especially among tourists. Pub managers offer people special drinking nights where you drink as much as you can for a flat rate. Such pub tours originally attracted foreign tourists, but today more and more Italians are joining in. They see that foreigners are having a lot of fun on such tours and they want to have a portion of it.
Italian authorities are quick to react. Although efforts to raise the drinking age from 16 to 18 have so far been unsuccessful, some cities make parents pay if their children are caught drinking. In Rome, drinking on the streets after 9 p.m. is illegal and those who are caught have to pay a fine of 50 euros. The ban has been effective. Young people sitting around fountains with beer and wine bottles have gone, afraid of the patrolling police.
Today’s youth aren’t ashamed very much if they get drunk. They look over to their British or American friends where binge drinking is cool. One big problem is that parents can no longer control their children the way they used to. They work longer and don’t have enough time for them. Some no longer care if children aren’t home at a given time.
- alcoholic = someone who drinks alcohol most of the time and has trouble stopping
- although = while
- ashamed = embarrassed, to feel guilty; to feel that you have done something that you shouldn’t have
- attract = pull towards you
- authority = government organization that has some power
- ban = order that stops something
- binge drinking = when you drink a lot of alcohol in order to become drunk
- effective = when something works
- effort = attempt , try
- especially = above all
- fine = money you must pay as a punishment
- flat rate = you pay a certain amount of money and can drink as much as you want
- foreign = from another country
- fountain = structure from which water is pushed up into the air ; mostly in a garden or park
- illegal = against the law
- join in = to become a part of something
- offer = here: to let people have the chance to buy something at a cheaper price
- originally = at first
- patrol = tour around a place
- popular = well-liked
- population = all the people of a country
- portion = part
- public = where everyone can see you
- publish = print out, bring out
- raise = increase, lift
- recently = lately, in the last few months or years
- replace = to remove something and put something else there
- shameful = bad behavior so that you should feel ashamed
- spread = increase, move to others
- treat = to cure an illness
- unsuccessful = fail; if something does not work the way you wanted it to
- youngster = an older child or a teenager