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Georgian Med News. 2010 Feb;(179):52-61.

Alcohol use in Georgian students; pilot study rigorously following criteria of European school project on alcohol and other drug.

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  • 1National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC and PH).


The main purpose of the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) is to collect comparable data on substance use among 15-16 year-old European students in order to monitor trends within as well as between countries. In the article the results of the pilot study of Alcohol Use among Georgian Students, rigorously following Criteria of European School Project on Alcohol and Other Drug (ESPAD) are presented. The survey was conducted according to a standardized methodology and with a standardized questionnaire. Data were collected during February 2009 and the target population was Tbilisi students in the 10-th grade (93% born in 1992), with a mean age of 16.1 years at the time of data collection. Data were collected by group-administered questionnaires. The students answered the questionnaires anonymously in the classroom with researchers. The survey revealed that alcoholic beverages, especially beer and wine are considered easily available; 73% found beer and 70% wine easy to obtain. 90% of the surveyed students have tried alcohol at least once during their lifetime. 80% have done so in the last 12months and 40% in the past 30 days. Gender differences become apparent when frequency of use is considered: boys have used alcohol more often than girls. 7.5% of the students state that, they never drink alcohol at all. Wine and beer are the two most important types of beverage for the students. On average, 40% of students on the latest drinking day consumed wine and 38% - beer. Champagne and spirits consumed 29% and 22% of students, respectively. On average, half of the students have been intoxicated, at least once during their lifetime, to the point of staggering when walking, having slurred speech or throwing up. 40% reported intoxication in the last 12 months and 12% in the past 30 days. Another way to measure drunkenness is to ask about a specific amount of alcohol consumed within a certain period of time. The students were asked if they had had five drinks or more on one occasion during the past month; this is referred to here as "heavy episodic drinking", 40% reported this; more boys than girls did so (45% versus 33%). More than half of the questioned students had consumed at least one glass of alcohol at the age of 13 or younger, and 25% had been drunk at that age. Having been intoxicated during the past 30 days, in turn, co-varies both with anticipating more positive consequences from drinking and with having experienced more negative personal consequences when drinking. Alcohol remains the number one problem. The fact that more than 90% of respondents have had drunk alcohol at least once and that more than 43% have had their last drink at home and more than 27% at friend's home, indicates the great reflection of the cultural acceptance of alcohol within Georgian society and within Georgian families. The consumption level among adults and their attitudes towards the substance in question can be one factor that affects use among teenagers. So may the magnitude of information and preventive efforts. Availability, not only in physical terms but also in financial terms, is another factor. Other, less substance-related, factors include the general level of health awareness in a population and the social and economic structures and conditions of individual communities. The study showed the importance of knowledge of alcohol use and the necessity including the healthy lifestyle subject in school curricula.

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