Spain Looks to Fine Parents of Underage Drinkers

A proposed bill in Spain would fine parents of underage drinkers
Wikimedia/Christian Haugen

A proposed law in Spain would fine parents for knowingly allowing underage children to get drunk.

In an attempt to curb underage binge drinking, the Spanish government has proposed a bill that would make parents liable for fines if they were caught allowing their children to get drunk.

According to The Local, parents who were caught allowing their children to get drunk would be fined €300, or $430, if their children were under 18. In order to make the fine stick, however, police would have to be able to prove that the parents knew their kids were getting drunk and had permitted it.

"The idea of fining parents of parents who drink is not a bad one. It would make parents more aware of the problem and they could take more responsibility for their children because of a fear of being fined," said María Rodríguez Renovales, spokesperson for FAD, Spain's anti-drug abuse foundation.

According to Renovales, the main problem with the bill is enforceability. There are already rules meant to curb underage binge drinking, but they are not seen as very effective, she said.

"We already have — for example — laws against "botellones" (large outdoor drinking parties) in Spain, but these continue to go ahead," Renovales explained.

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Renovales called the new bill “brave and ambitious,” but said it was unlikely to pass in its current form. In addition to fining parents of underage drinkers, the proposed law would also ban alcohol advertisements within 100 meters of schools, and could even ban the consumption of alcohol at child-heavy areas like public pools and parks. It also lays out huge fines of up to €600,000, or over $810,000, for supermarkets, nightclubs, and bars caught selling spirits to underage customers.