'Who drinks the most, wins': Police uncover underage drinking competition in Prague nightclub

Organizers of the party now face up to one year in prison for serving alcohol to minors.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 20.01.2023 13:42:00 (updated on 21.01.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Last weekend, police stormed a nightclub in the Prague 7 district where they found dozens of underage guests at a “tester party.” This is a drinking competition where participants aim to reach the highest blood-alcohol level possible in order to win a prize.

Underage binge drinking

Police found 29 underage drinkers at the club, 14 of which had a blood alcohol level (BAC, the quantity of alcohol in milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood) of over 0.1 percent. The most inebriated youngster – a 16-year-old girl – had a BAC level of 0.21 percent, according to the Czech police.

While the legal drinking age at venues in the Czech Republic is 18, the club let in people aged 16 and above. Following the bust, police took the partygoers to the police station, where they had to wait for parents or guardians to pick them up.

A BAC level of just 0.03 percent is illegal for driving in Czechia. Once somebody reaches a BAC level of 0.1 percent, they experience “significant impairment of motor coordination and loss of good judgment.”

Referring to the illicit competition, a police spokesman said “other potential winners of the evening are the bartenders who served alcohol to children," adding that the former face a "main prize" of "up to one year behind bars.”

How a person's blood concentration level can affect how people feel and their behavior. Source: University of Wisconsin
How a person's blood concentration level can affect how people feel and their behavior. Source: University of Wisconsin

The same host of the Prague 7 party reportedly organized similar “tester parties” in Hradec Králové and Sokolov, where 15-year-olds could enter.

A national problem?

A 2019 study from the Europe-wide European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) shows that “beer is quite easily obtained by 80 percent of 16-year-olds in Czechia.”

About 4 in 10 children aged 16 reported “drinking excessive amounts of alcohol" in the past month on at least one occasion, and 76 percent of 15-year-olds say they have "experienced alcohol consumption."

Even beer without alcohol is a risk. Experts last year said that some Czech families' tendencies to give their children non-alcoholic drinks (or even some with a low amount of alcohol) was "a risk." The “Don’t Hop Children” campaign aims to warn parents of the risks that alcohol consumption poses to children.

Following the bust, nightclub owners and Czech youths may now think twice before taking part in underage drinking to avoid an unwanted visit to the police station – or, perhaps even worse, a scolding from their parents.

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