Alcohol is the most commonly used drug in the United States. It is responsible for over 4,300 annual underage deaths. As alcohol continues to evolve it is only becoming more dangerous and appealing to children. The younger children start to drink the more likely they are to develop alcohol dependency later in life. Those who start drinking before the legal age are actually four times as likely to develop an addiction.
The rise of fruity non-alcoholic tasting drinks has put children at high risk for over-drinking or developing an addiction. The rise in drinks like White Claws, Truly, flavored vodka, or even infused popsicles and candy have already been shown to play a part in the rise of underage drinking numbers. Plus, because these drinks are so heavily flavored it is very easy to binge drink and overdo it. It is very easy to forget what a serving size of alcohol is when it tastes just like juice. Studies have shown that adults should have no more than 100 grams of alcohol in a week or they could be putting themselves at risk for a variety of different health issues.
However, more times than not serving sizes for alcohol are disregarded and binge drinking occurs, especially with teens and young adults. This may also be a reason why you have a higher chance of ending up in urgent care or emergency room after drinking FABs compared to typical beverages like beer or wine.
For those who don’t enjoy the taste of alcohol and prefer to not drink it, these companies are creating these drinks as a way to target a new audience and get them interested in drinking. Alcohol companies claim that their ads are targeted toward a legal drinking age audience.
Unfortunately, that is not the reality because a poll found that a larger percentage of teenagers aged 16-18 were seeing these alcohol commercials more often than the intended audience of people 21 years of age or older.
It is also important to note that these commercials and companies are also trying to target the population of women specifically because they have been known to drink less than men. These companies have had some significant impact because according to the American Medical Association, “The percentage of girls who drink is on the rise faster than boys, and the average age of their first drink is now 13.”
You should have a serious talk regarding alcohol with your kids as soon as they are old enough to understand. You should talk about the differences between alcohol types, the percentages of alcoholic beverages, and how to spot a regular drink versus an alcoholic beverage. Not only will this help them understand how dangerous different alcohol types can be, but it might protect them in the future if they are ever offered an alcoholic drink they will know exactly what it is.
By// Jessica Lee