German adolescents are top at boozing! In the current edition of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2009; 106 (19): 323), Martin Stolle et al. of the German Center for Addiction Research in Childhood and Adolescence in Hamburg report that the main change has been the increase in the number of intoxicated girls. In their article, the authors present motivating short-term interventions to counteract secondary problems.
According to the German Federal Commissioner for Narcotic Drugs, the number of adolescents admitted to hospital for alcohol poisoning has more than doubled, increasing from 9500 in 2007 to more than 23 000 in 2007. About 3800 of these patients were between 10 and 15 years old. Teenagers who start drinking alcohol regularly before the age of 15 have a 4-fold increased risk of becoming alcohol dependent.
The German Federal model project "Hart am Limit"("Close to the Limit/On the Edge") even starts in the emergency ambulance. The authors consider that it would be desirable to supplement this with a brief motivational intervention, based on the principle of motivational interviewing. Drinking motivation will be discussed in short individual sessions of maximally 60 minutes. Topics will include the negative consequences of drinking, such as accidents or violence. The objective is to make it clear to the adolescents that they bear responsibility for changing their own consumption behavior. Studies in the USA show that as few as one to four sessions can yield a lasting effect.