As Halloween approaches, many teenagers will binge on “fun-sized” candy bars and packages of gummy bears filched from their parents’ trick-or-treat stash. This year, however, a new trend among teens of soaking gummy candy in alcohol and eating it to get drunk may prompt adults to watch the level in the candy bowl more closely.
Today it is easier than ever for underage drinkers to consume alcohol, both because of availability and because a lot of products that contain booze don’t actually taste like they could get you drunk. Many teens who would be turned off by the taste of beer or hard liquor now brew Skittles-flavored vodka, eat liquor-soaked candy or swallow Jell-O shots in order to get a buzz from the alcohol without enduring the harsh flavor. These sugary drinks and snacks can lead to alcohol poisoning because it is easier to consume more of them than traditional alcoholic beverages due to their innocuous flavor.
Studies have shown that people who begin drinking in their teens have a higher risk of alcohol dependency. Parents should talk to their teenage children about the dangers of underage drinking, and about the variety of alcoholic beverages and products that they may be exposed to through friends or classmates. Just because it doesn’t look or taste like alcohol doesn’t mean that it is safe (or legal) to consume.
Photo credit: moonlightbulb