Campaigning on the beaches

Young volunteers will take to beaches, nightclubs and concert venues from this Friday to the end of August in an attempt to persuade their peers to drink alcohol in moderation and to avoid smoking and narcotics. «Ask First» is the slogan of the groundbreaking information campaign, organized by the General Secretariat of Youth and the non-governmental organization Praxis. The basic philosophy behind it is that young people need to get the message in their own language about the dangers of narcotics, tobacco, alcohol and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). During the campaign, trained volunteers will travel by land and sea, using sailboats and multipurpose vehicles to reach thousands of young people at holiday destinations around Greece, offering them leaflets, hats, symbolic bracelets and T-shirts reminding them of the need to play it safe. Youngsters are starting to be lax in using condoms, which has rekindled the AIDS epidemic and boosted the number of other STDs. In Greece, one in four people with AIDS is aged 29 or less, while the incidence of syphilis and gonorrhea has risen 30-40 percent in recent years, Meanwhile, one in 10 Greek adolescents aged 13-18 has used illegal substances, and 16 percent of those aged 15-29 believe that casual substance use is not dangerous. Four out of five Greeks aged 13-18 smoke regularly, while one in six Greeks aged 18-34 say they have driven under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past six months.

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