Minister of Health Juras Požėla discussed some of the changes to alcohol laws that the Ministry of Health will propose to combat alcoholism in Lithuania.
Juras Požėla
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

“There are 19,000 places in Lithuania where alcoholic beverages can be purchased. That's not normal. We will propose to review these licenses once a year.” Požėla told LRT. “If there are frequent complaints from neighbours, calls to the police, etc., these will be additional arguments for discontinuing these licenses. With this system implemented, I think that we could easily reduce the number of places selling alcohol from 19,000 to 9-10,000.”

Požėla also discussed various additional proposals, like the changing of the minimum age to purchase alcohol. “A proposal to restrict the sale of alcohol to people younger than 20 years of age is being discussed, but nongovernmental studies have shown that the laws currently in effect are not being followed, because 17-year-olds, 16-year-olds and even younger people aregetting alcohol easily, and alcohol use among 15-year-olds is growing. We should first control the enforcement of the laws currently in effect. Changing the minimum age restriction may sound nice, but what of it?”

Požėla expressed his belief that Lithuania could also make use of specialised alcohol stores. “When will we have them? I think we should set a date ahead of time so that businesspeople could prepare for the change appropriately,” he said.

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