Teenage Issues

Information on some of the issues which affect young people including teen pregnancy, alcohol and drug use and the laws surrounding them in South Korea...

Teenagers and Alcohol

Alcohol plays a significant role in South Korea's culture, and there are bars and clubs that are open all night. The legal minimum drinking age is 19, though the law is often not strictly enforced. A person can drink alcohol from 1 January in the year that they turn 20.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence in South Korea and the law is strictly enforced. Large fines, licence suspensions and prison sentences are imposed for drink driving. Anyone caught drink driving who has already been caught three times before will be detained, regardless of their blood alcohol level. A driver is considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level exceeds 0.05 percent. Refusing an alcohol test can result in the cancellation of a driving licence.

There are Alcoholics Anonymous support groups in English in South Korea for those for whom alcohol has become a problem. They provide support services to foreigners living in Seoul and around the country. They have a telephone answering service, run meetings and organise events.

Teenagers and Drugs

Recreational drug use has increased in South Korea in the last decade, including among students and young people. Drugs are becoming both easier and cheaper to get hold of. The Korean government's policy is to expand both treatment and awareness. Traditionally drug problems have been dealt with legally, but there is a move towards treatment and rehabilitation.

Teenage Pregnancy

South Korea has very restrictive abortion laws. Abortion is allowed in South Korea within 24 weeks of pregnancy in the following cases only:

  • Sexual assault, incest
  • Danger to mother's health
  • Hereditary disease (including psychiatric disease, hemophilia, epilepsy, etc.)
  • Contagious disease (including AIDS and hepatitis)

Family Planning

The Planned Population Federation of Korea provides information and education on contraception, planned parenthood and all family planning issues.

  • Planned Population Federation of Korea
    Tel: 02 855 0625