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The SOPA approach includes measures and support for individuals who drink alcohol in a hazardous or harmful way and their relatives. It is based on linking different sectors by organizing various events and meetings on a local (in involved local areas), regional (in NIJZ regional units) and national level. Besides health facilities, social care centres, employment services offices and non-governmental organisations, we are establishing connections in the field with municipalities and the police who are implementing several preventive programs to raise awareness on alcohol-related topics.
Events and meetings around Slovenia wish to promote an exchange of experiences amongst representatives of different professions and SOPA approach implementers. We wish to pass on the latest information on alcohol-related issues, promoting scientifically supported, professional recommendation for health protection: little to zero consumption of alcohol; instead, choose healthy alternatives.
The SOPA project website is intended for anyone who wants to find out more about the patterns and consequences of alcohol consumption and about our SOPA program, activities and events.
Each one of you can contribute to achieving the goals of SOPA and its activities. Look out for events that will be organized in your area. You’re invited to ask questions, read informative material and contact us at any time – via the website or in the field. Much can be done by an individual who is aware about this issue and who spreads news about this approach amongst relatives and in their local area.
‘Alcohol-free day’ is an event that we mark every year with the aim to start a conversation about healthy lifestyle choices in our daily lives and offer support to those trying to give up unhealthy habits. Visitors can learn more about how to develop a responsible attitude towards alcohol consumption and the sources of support available in their region. Multiple health promotion centres and health education centres across Slovenia offer free workshops. Among these are our own:
- two workshops offering free counselling services aimed at supporting individuals in giving up hazardous and harmful alcohol drinking,
- and workshops about healthy relationships that are also freely accessible in the centres to any adult individual who would like to take a closer look and take care of their relationships with others and their relationship with themselves.
Each year, ‘Alcohol-free day’ is organized in 9 health regions across Slovenia.
‘Alcohol-free day’ 2023
Ravne na Koroškem, 22 April 2023 – health region Ravne na Koroškem
Celje, 12 April 2023 – health region Celje
Lenart, 12 April 2023, health region Maribor
Novo mesto, 6 April 2023, health region Novo Mesto
Murska Sobota, 5 April 2023, health region Murska Sobota
Izola, 5 April 2023, health region Koper
Tolmin, 24 March 2023, health region Nova Gorica
Cerkno, 16 March 2023, health region Ljubljana
Kranj, 8 March 2023, health region Kranj
‘Alcohol-free day’ in Ravne na Koroškem, 22 April 2023
On Saturday, April 22, 2023, as part of the Day for Change, the “Alcohol-free day” event took place at the City Market in Ravne na Koroškem, organized by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) with the assistance of the municipality of Ravne na Koroškem. This time, we were joined by Ravne’s police station, the Carinthian Association for Cancer Control, and the Health Education Center in Ravne na Koroškem.
During the event, we discussed healthy lifestyle choices in our daily lives and presented sources of assistance and support for quitting unhealthy lifestyles. Visitors had the opportunity to experience the negative effects of alcohol on human motor skills by using glasses that simulate different levels of intoxication. A police officer provided detailed information about the risks alcohol poses in traffic. Every year, we also find that visitors are surprised by the statistics on alcohol consumption in Slovenia, as well as the myths we dispel through a fun game called the “Wheel of Fortune” on the topic of alcohol-related issues. One of the myths we debunk is the idea that alcohol is good for the blood.
We also addressed the issue of alcohol-related problems during the Health Day in Dravograd (April 14, 2023). We organized a lecture titled “Risky and Harmful Alcohol Drinking” for adult visitors, and engaging movement and information workshops for primary school students, Dravograd’s kindergarten, and primary school Šentjanž . As the local unit of the NIJZ, we also had an informational booth at the Health Run event in Slovenj Gradec on April 22.
‘Alcohol-free day’ in Celje, 12 April 2023
At the end of Karitas’ “40 Days Without Alcohol” campaign and in celebration of World Health Day, the National Institute of Public Health, the municipality of Celje, and Celje Healthy City organized a conference titled “Together for a Healthy Lifestyle.”
In the first part, the conference focused primarily on research findings regarding the impact of the pandemic on individuals’ lifestyles and the pitfalls of new tobacco products. New tobacco and nicotine products that are increasingly popular among young people were presented, along with awareness-raising methods and forms of assistance for smoking cessation.
The spotlight then shifted to alcohol-related issues. Research shows that every other adult in Slovenia either takes risks or experiences negative consequences due to alcohol consumption at least once a year. The Savinja region has a very high percentage of high-risk binge drinking (47.70%; the Slovenian average is 42.80%). However, in the region, the rate of hospitalizations due to alcohol-related diseases among individuals over the age of 15 has decreased in the past six years and remains below the Slovenian average.
A clinical psychologist from the Vojnik Psychiatric Hospital initially provided a fascinating insight from the psychiatric clinic, which sparked additional questions from the audience. A member of the Alcoholics Anonymous Community in Slovenia described the challenging path of treatment. Preventive programs and activities for promoting health and preventing and reducing alcohol-related harm were presented by an NIJZ employee focusing on the SOPA approach, as well as professionals from Nazarje’s Health Education Centre and Celje’s Health Promotion Centre.
The conference targeted professionals in education, healthcare, social work, and non-governmental organizations. However, students from the local high school and other interested individuals also attended the event at the Gimnazijka Hall in the I. gimnazija in Celje, as it provided a good opportunity for learning, exchanging opinions, and socializing.
‘Alcohol-free day’ in Lenart, 12 April 2023
On Wednesday, 12 April 2023, at the National Institute of Public Health – regional unit Maribor, in collaboration with the Health promotion centre at the Health centre Lenart, we celebrated ‘Alcohol-free day’ and debunked myths about alcohol.
Visitors could participate in a pleasant nature hike (7.5 km) led by a physiotherapist and a kinesiologist from the Health promotion centre Lenart.
At various booths, passersby could learn about healthy lifestyle choices in our daily lives, obtain information on the topic of a healthy lifestyle, view promotional and educational materials, learn myths and facts about alcohol consumption, and test their knowledge by participating in a quiz. An employee from Lenart’s police station also joined us with preventive activities, and visitors could test their skills on a course while wearing goggles that simulate intoxication, which garnered a lot of interest.
The Health promotion centre at the Health centre Lenart presented its activities and health education workshops in more detail. These are free consultations designed to support individuals in quitting hazardous and harmful alcohol consumption, as well as a Healthy relationships workshop, which is also available free of charge at all Health promotion centres/Health centers throughout the country to any adult who would like to take a closer look and take care of their relationships with others and their relationship with themselves.
‘Alcohol-free day’ in Novo Mesto, 6 April 2023
As part of the ’40-day alcohol-free’ campaign, we prepared a short talk show on Radio Sraka in the Novo Mesto region. We presented listeners with the importance of responsible alcohol consumption and information on the potential effects of hazardous and harmful alcohol consumption on an individual’s health. At the largest regional agricultural fair, “Gregorjev sejem”, held from March 10th to 12th in Novo Mesto, we informed participants about the consequences of hazardous and harmful alcohol consumption on health. As part of World Health Day on April 6th, we set up a SOPA (TRATAC) booth at the professional meeting “Building Mental Health for Children and Adolescents Together,” where participants received information on the impact of alcohol consumption on health and the operation of the SOPA program in Slovenia.
‘Alcohol-free day’ in Murska Sobota, 5 April 2023
On Wednesday, 5 April 2023, ‘Alcohol-free day’ took place in Martin Luther Square in Murska Sobota, organized by our NIJZ in collaboration with the municipality of Murska Sobota.
This time, we were joined by: Pomurje museum Murska Sobota, Health centre Murska Sobota, Health promotion centre, Adult mental health centre, and Children and adolescents mental health centre, House Fruits of Society Murska Sobota, Association Nova Pot Radenci, and the Regional and study library Murska Sobota. Pomurje museum Murska Sobota also organized two free guided tours of their permanent exhibition. The Regional and study library of Murska Sobota provided visitors with an information desk with materials.
At the event, we discussed healthy lifestyle choices in our everyday lives and presented resources for help and support in quitting an unhealthy lifestyle. Every year, we also find that visitors are surprised by statistics on alcohol consumption in Slovenia, as well as myths that we debunk through a relaxed game of “wheel of fortune” on the topic of alcohol problems.
More about our events, locations, and dates HERE.
Media coverage on ‘Alcohol-free day’ events can be found HERE.
‘Alcohol-free day’ in Izola, 5 April 2023
On Wednesday, 5 April 2023, ‘Alcohol-free day’ took place in Lonka, Izola (as part of Caritas’ “40 days without alcohol” campaign) in all nine healthcare regions in Slovenia.
Our National Institute of Public Health colleagues joined forces with the Health promotion centre – Health center Izola and invited numerous organizations and societies operating in the local community to participate. They talked with visitors about healthy lifestyle choices, presented sources of help and support for quitting unhealthy lifestyles.
Research shows that every other adult Slovenian risks or already has negative consequences due to alcohol consumption at least once a year.
That is why we presented visitors with a novelty in prevention: individual consultations to support quitting hazardous and harmful alcohol consumption, which we carry out in health education centres and health promotion centres throughout Slovenia. They are free and available to any adult individual who would like to take a closer look and take care of their relationship with alcohol or regulate their drinking habits.
The sunny day attracted many passers-by to Lonka, who could try walking on a course with “alcohol” glasses, spin the SOPA wheel or check their health risk factors. The relaxed afternoon also passed quickly with creative activities and trying healthy snacks, which are the right choices for a healthier lifestyle.
‘Alcohol-free day’ in Tolmin, 24 March 2023
On Friday, 24 March 2023, ‘Alcohol-free day’ took place in the city square of Tolmin, organized by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) in Nova Gorica, in collaboration with the health education centre of Tolmin’s health centre and the municipality of Tolmin’s many associations and institutions. With more than 300 visitors, we shared information about alcohol-related problems, debunked alcohol myths through the “wheel of fortune” game, and discussed healthy lifestyle choices in our daily lives.
We also made sure that everyone could find help in case of problems and what support options were available for quitting an unhealthy lifestyle. Above all, we wanted to introduce a new source of help – SOPA’s individual counselling, which is available in health education centres and health promotion centres throughout Slovenia.
We are delighted that many young people, from pre-schoolers to elementary and high school students, participated at the event. The attitude towards alcohol consumption is established in early childhood, and unfortunately, data shows that in Slovenia, every seventh 11-year-old has already tried an alcoholic beverage, and every fourth 17-year-old regularly drinks alcohol every week (HBSC, 2018). As we are talking about the period of developing brains, drinking alcoholic beverages during this time can have even more negative consequences on young bodies.
Tolmin’s mayor also joined us and praised the response of local institutions and associations. With interactive content, they offered a practical insight into the consequences of alcohol drinking and guidance towards choices for a healthier lifestyle.
More about our events, locations, and dates HERE.
Media coverage on ‘Alcohol-free day’ events can be found HERE.
‘Alcohol-free day’ in Cerkno, 16 March 2023
The ‘Alcohol-free day’ event took place in front of the Centre for school and extracurricular activities in Cerkno and was organized by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) in cooperation with Idrija’s health centre. This time, the Idrija’s police station and Cerkno’s elementary school have also participated.
At the event, we talked about healthy lifestyle choices in our daily lives and presented sources of help and support for quitting unhealthy lifestyles. Every year, we also find that visitors are surprised by the statistics on alcohol consumption in Slovenia, as well as the myths we dispel through the relaxed “wheel of fortune” game on alcohol-related issues. Among the myths we debunk is the one that alcohol is good for the blood.
We also presented our activities and workshops in more detail, which we carry out in health centres throughout Slovenia, specifically in health education centres and health promotion centres. Free consultations for support in quitting hazardous and harmful alcohol consumption and workshops on healthy relationships are available in these centres to any adult individual who would like to take a closer look and take care of their relationships with others and their relationship with themselves.
Media coverage of ‘Alcohol-free day’ events can be found HERE.
More information on prevention programs can be found on the Together for Health website HERE. Nine events all together will be organized across Slovenia as part of commemorating ‘Alcohol-free day’. More about the events, locations, and dates HERE.
‘Alcohol-free day’ in Kranj, 8 March 2023
The highlight of the event and the largest attendance occurred after 11:00 am when the square filled up with students and teachers from Kranj’s high schools, employees of the Kranj municipality and visitors of the library, who were awaiting the runners participating at the Stop Addiction exhibition opening. The exhibition and this part of the activity were organized by the Local action group for the prevention of drug abuse in the municipality of Kranj, together with Kranj’s schools and public institutions. In an art competition, students thought about and created art related to the burdens and troubles of addiction. Upon arrival, the mayor of Kranj, addressed all those present and participated in a quiz and obstacle course. Students also tested themselves in the obstacle course and quiz, showing an admirable understanding of alcohol-related issues.
Our efforts were also recognized by the local media, who visited us at the event. Together, we helped spread an important message about healthy choices and the possibilities offered by participation in prevention programs.
As part of the celebration of the ‘Alcohol-free day’, we will organize a total of 9 events throughout Slovenia. More information about the events, locations and dates can be found HERE.