Teenage Issues - Drugs, Alcohol and Pregnancy

Information on some of the issues affecting young people in Switzerland, including teen pregnancy, alcohol and drug use and the laws and support surrounding them...

Alcohol and its abuse is becoming more and more of a problem in Switzerland with the increase in "binge-drinking".

The age limit to buy or drink beer or wine in Switzerland is 16, and for spirits the age limit is 18.

Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are held in English throughout Switzerland. There are also daily meetings held in a number of other languages including French, German and Spanish.

  • For information on AA meetings in English: Click here

Teenagers and Drugs

Infodrog can provide support and advice to drug addicts and their families. They can also provide information on the different therapies available.

  • Infodrog
    At: Eigerplatz 5, Postfach CP 460, 3000 Bern 14
    Tel: 031 376 04 01
    email

Support for Teenagers

Geneva’s University Hospital has an outpatient centre for teenagers in difficulty and a suicide prevention unit for 15 to 25 year olds. They have a helpline available 24/7.

Teenage Pregnancy

The legal age of consent is 16 in Switzerland, however, sexual relationships are permitted before the age of 16 as long as the age difference between the two people is less than two years.

A woman with an unwanted pregnancy that has advanced less than twelve weeks may complete a form issued by her canton asking for the termination of a pregnancy. Each canton has to provide information containing a list of consultation centres and a list of organisations that may be able to help her. She will also be informed about the possibility of giving the child up for adoption at birth. After twelve weeks, a woman may have an abortion if the doctor believes her "physical integrity" will be threatened or she will face "profound distress" should the pregnancy be allowed to continue to term. The danger to the woman must be shown to increase as the pregnancy advances.

Each canton has to provide information containing a list of consultation centres and a list of organisations that may be able to help a pregnant girl or woman. She will also be informed about the possibility of giving the child up for adoption at birth. A girl under the age of 16 must have an obligatory consultation with a specialist youth counsellor and sign a form before she may terminate her pregnancy. Swiss law does not require parental consent for minors. Cantons have to designate hospitals and medical practices, which meet set criteria for offering thorough counselling and carrying out terminations.

The Zürich University Hospital has a family planning centre that offers consultations and advice.

  • At: Raemistrasse 100, 8091 Zürich
    Tel: 044 255 11 11

The Geneva University Hospital (in French) has a family planning centre that offers consultations and advice free of charge.

  • At: 47 Bd de la Cluse, 1205 Geneva
    Tel: +41 (0)22 372 55 00