79% of Spanish adolescents drink alcohol and, in addition, the majority do so in large bingeing. But total consumption among young people falls, and the latest European surveys claim that more and more young people do not drink. In Spain the number of abstainers does not increase significantly, but the data suggest that the "problem" of alcohol among young people is in retreat. The teacher of ESIC Juan María González-Anleo (1973, Madrid), PhD in Political Science and Sociology from the Pontifical University of Salamanca and Expert in Youth and Society from UNED, analyzes the causes of this transformation.
Question. Why are young people leaving to drink alcohol?
Answer. There are three reasons why consumption among young people is declining, and one reason why it is not decreasing so much in Spain. First, for health. It is becoming an authentic religion. 30 years ago, health was a very secondary value. The motto of the punk was "no future" (there is no future), but now it is a fundamental value of young people, even ahead of the family in importance. The second issue: alcohol is a drug and there has been a process of drug substitution. We live thinking about chemical drugs, but now the new thing is technological drugs, which in the case of young people are the most important. The game and bets are entered by mobile phones, but also social networks and the mobile itself are an addiction. And the third question: alcohol is losing instrumental value. You can drink for a good time, but alcohol has always had a powerful instrumental value, that is, to connect with someone you like, to be disinhibited, to be more direct … to be as you would like to be. In the specific field of linking, with applications such as Tinder, that is no longer necessary. People will continue to drink alcohol to have fun, but to become more direct, to say things to the beast, that's what the new drugs are for, which are the applications and pages to link.
P. And the reason why in Spain has not decreased so much the juvenile consumption of alcohol?
R. I'm sorry to say so, but it's because young Spaniards have little else. A poster of the FAD [Fundación de Ayuda contra la Drogadicción] says: "Take care of your hobbies because they are the ones that take you away from drugs". But the young Spaniards go to the theater a little, they do not play the guitar, they do not write … Their love is Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night, going out and getting drunk. Even, sometimes, on my street, Monday night. There are guys who look on a Tuesday and say: "What a wish that the weekend comes to catch me a good fart". In comparison with other countries such as France, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands or Italy, young Spaniards have few alternatives, they have few hobbies. its hobby, although it sounds very sad, it is getting drunk.
P. The problem of binge drinking is real, but Spain will not be the country with the worst consumption among young people?
R. Faced with the catastrophic and apocalyptic of what I said a moment ago, I believe that young Spaniards, in their vast majority, do not have a problem with alcohol. When I lived in Germany, I saw guys who ate beer and kept drinking all day. They drank alone in their houses. You do not see that in Spain, that's when it starts to be dysfunctional. I joked that the Germans drank beer to become Spaniards: if you went to a party, you would see all the girls on one side and them on the other, drinking beer to be able to enter the girls.
P. Is there a specific moment when young people are more likely to stop drinking?
R. Stop drinking when [el hábito] It is dysfunctional. You let [de emborracharte] when you start having responsibilities The problem is that young people have few obligations and are young for a long time. For example, some young British people are hanging out, getting tattoos, giving themselves a look Very aggressive that disappears the same day they start working.
P. Why do some young people refuse to drink from the beginning but others do not?
R. Right now it is very expensive to drink, young people have little money. Also, many people stay at home, where they have more interesting things to do. Using your mobile or watching series, for example, is a real obsession as well. Because of this, in addition, young people have less and less sex, and this is an international trend. As there is a consumption more and more home, added to technological consumption, series and others … alcohol there does not paint anything. This is a good opportunity for people who do not enter into this dynamic [no empieza a beber]. Social pressure is what usually causes people to get into tobacco and alcohol, but behavior is increasingly restricted to their room or their parents' house. In addition, drinking alcohol alone or with a partner almost does not occur in Spain.
P. What leisure options, outside the home and with colleagues, has a young man who does not drink if his friends do? Do you go with them to the bottle and get bored?
R. You can drink less. There are other options. The real question is: can a 13-year-old resist the social pressure to start drinking? That answer is usually no.