Monitoring alcohol in the Netherlands
To better understand the role that alcohol plays in Dutch society, the Trimbos Institute a number of monitoring studies related to alcohol. The results of the monitoring studies are used to develop effective alcohol policies, to implement targeted interventions, and to create meaningful support and education for those with alcohol-related problems.
Selected monitoring studies
- The Dutch National School Survey is a national research effort regarding the use of tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and the internet among adolescents.
- The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) is a collaborative effort of independent research teams in more than forty European countries; it is the largest multinational research project on adolescent substance use in the world.
- The Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey collects data every four years on 11-, 13- and 15-year-old boys' and girls' health and well-being, social environments, and health behaviors. HBSC includes 44 countries and regions across Europe and North America.
- The WMH (World Mental Health)-WHO survey initiative is a project of the Assessment, Classification, and Epidemiology (ACE) Group at the World Health Organization, which coordinates the implementation and analysis of general population epidemiologic surveys of mental, substance use, and behavioral disorders.
- The NEMESIS-2 study generates basic information about the mental health of the Dutch population, as well as changes in the mental health of the adult population over time.
- The study about the impact of raising age for drinking alcohol on drug use is a research regarding trends in cannabis, ecstasy, amphetamine, and cocaine use among 16 and 17 year olds, by comparing data on the prevalence of drug use before and after the policy change.
Informing the public about the harms of alcohol
The Trimbos Institute provides clear, evidence-based information to the Dutch population and professionals. This information is distributed through:
- the Alcohol Infoline, a telephone support and information service;
- the Alcohol Infoline website, which contains information about alcohol;
- Alcohol, Drugs, and Aggression, a course for professionals working in night life settings. The training topics include how to deal with people who are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and how to prevent aggression;
- courses in alcohol abuse prevention; and
- courses for first responders about how to work with those who are under the influence of alcohol.
Alcohol policy in the Netherlands: A brief note
In the Netherlands, the purchasing age for alcohol is 18 years old. Moreover, teens younger than 18 are not allowed to carry alcohol with them in public places, including but not limited to on the street, in parks, at events, and at festivals. According to Dutch policy, liquor may only be sold at grocery stores, liquor stores, and snack bars. Cashiers are obliged to ask for identification and must refuse to sell alcohol to persons who cannot provide this. Moreover, bartenders are not allowed to sell alcohol to individuals who are already under the influence.
Alcohol, drugs, and minor mental handicaps
Around 1.4 million people in the Netherlands have a low IQ and issues surrounding full participation in society. Research shows that this population is more likely to misuse alcohol and drugs. The Trimbos Institute has developed several training sessions for caregivers, educational materials, a prevention program, and an e-learning module. These efforts aim to increase knowledge and skills about alcohol and drug use as well as detecting misuse, improving communication, and supporting youngsters with a minor mental handicap.
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