Ask why they are drinking alcohol, and you get a range of answers.
“It’s fun and an opportunity to make friends,” says František, 16, as he downs a bottle of lager with a group of classmates on Prague’s Petřín Hill.
Another student, Vincent, had his first taste of alcohol at 15.
“Girls force you to drink, so it helps you get laid,” he said. “Beer is like water to us. You start drinking it because of the taste, but then move on to vodka to get you drunk.”
Youngsters like František and Vincent are becoming part of a worrying trend. According to a recent study, the Czech Republic is now home to Europe’s heaviest underage drinkers.
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