Teen Health

<strong><strong>Find out about the regulations, restrictions and problems affecting teenagers in Germany...</strong></strong>

Teenagers and alcohol

According to recent surveys, half of all 14-year-olds have been drunk at least once. More boys drink alcohol than girls and 13 percent of under-16s regularly drink alcohol.

That said, it is illegal to:

  • Buy and drink spirits (Branntwein) in a public place under the age of 18
  • Buy and drink other alcoholic drinks (wine, beer, cider and sparkling wine) in a public place under the age of 16. If there is a responsible adult present this is allowed from age 14 onwards

Alcoholics Anonymous organises meetings throughout Germany, and provides information and support on alcohol-related problems.

  • For a list of AA meetings in English: Click here

Teenagers and drugs

The possession, dealing, production and import of cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin are illegal in Germany. The most regularly used drugs are alcohol and cannabis. There is some use of amphetamines and ecstasy in night clubs.

  • The EU Alice Project provides information and advice on all types of drugs currently in circulation in Germany and gives a solid reference for parents and children

Support is available for drug addicts. Drug counselling is free of charge. Schools and colleges also carry out ongoing drug prevention programmes.

  • For a list of drug counselling centres (Suchtberatungsstellen): Click here (in German)

Teenage pregnancy

Germany has quite low rates of teenage pregnancy compared to other countries such as the USA. The age of consent is 14. Contraception is readily available from a gynaecologist (Frauenarzt) or through the Family Planning Organisation and contraceptives are also on sale from chemists and vending machines. Advice, help and counselling about sex, relationships and contraception are available anonymously and free of charge.

From the age of 14 a girl may visit a gynaecologist and have the pill prescribed without parental permission. If the girl is under 14 years, parents must be informed and included in the decision to prescribe any form of contraception.

Should a minor (girl under 18 years) become pregnant, the doctor will decide if she is mature enough to choose to have an abortion or if the parents need to be informed to make the decision for her. Responsibility for the child is carried by the parents until the birth mother reaches 18 years of age. Girls under 18 years have no legal right of care for their children in Germany.

A boy aged between 15 and 18 who gets a girl pregnant must decide if he wants to be acknowledged as the father of the baby. If the boy decides to take on this responsibility, he must sign a legal declaration in the presence of a public notary.

Smoking

Since December 2006 smoking is not allowed in public buildings, schools and hospitals. Smoking is allowed in pubs, bars, discos and beer tents, but pressure is mounting on the government to bring Germany in line with other EU Member States and ban smoking in public places altogether.

  1. It is illegal to buy tobacco and cigarettes under the age of 16.
  2. Smoking is illegal under the age of 16 in public.
  • For more information regarding the smoking ban and restrictions in individual states in Germany: Click here (in German)

Piercing and tattoos

Young people under the age of 18 must provide written consent from their parents and a copy of the young person's identity card in order to have a piercing or tattoo.