It's unlikely that many people imagined that 2008 would be the year governments would declare a war on alcoholic beverages, just as they have declared a war on tobacco over the last five years or so (does anyone doubt that a smoker today is almost a social criminal?). In Brazil, for instance, sanctions were subtle, such as those banning the use of cartoons (or any reference to a children's universe) on advertisements for alcoholic drinks. However, recently, the controversy around the ban on alcohol propaganda and the partial prohibition have made the country's intention of fighting the consumption of such an accepted drug clear.
Coatia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia are some of the countries where, as in Brazil, the tolerance for alcohol percentage in the blood is zero (that is, if you are driving, you can't have a drop of alcohol in your blood). In Moldova, the percentage of drivers caught driving after drinking past the country's established limit reaches the 19% mark, the highest percentage in Europe, followed by Great Britain and Switzerland. And you are wrong if you think alcohol is only responsible for car accidents: alcohol intoxication rises your chances of getting a STD, pregnant or into a fight.
Moreover, if it's so that clear most of us are aware of all these consequences of alcohol abuse... Why aren't consumption levels dropping? The answer is simple: you only have to look at how attractive the propaganda for beer, vodkas and other drinks are, to realize that slogans like 'If you are driving, don't drink' are not as effective. Especially when it comes to younger people, the main target for these advertisements.
It was with this audience in mind that Germany released a series of publicity campaigns, showing intoxicated young people in embarrassing situations, brought on by alcohol abuse. With no middle-ground and fairly explicit, the Stay Gold campaign consists of images and videos showing the before and after getting drunk and the real consequences of drinking beyond alcohol limits. And the German Ministry of Health has good reasons to be worried about this issue: from the year 2000 to date, the number of people between the ages of 14 and 21 who have been treated in hospitals for alcohol intoxication has increased from 9.5 thousand to a whopping 20 thousand.
The images, which aim at shocking the public, are being displayed on the Internet, television, posters, printed on Chopp coasters and turned into desktop themes. All while trying to remind people that responsibility and balace don't have to stop you from having a good time and enjoying a drink, and that intoxication can be the cause of very unglamorous, rather gross, embarrassing and, sometimes, tragic situations.
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