What are Alcopops
Alcopops are drinks that originated in Australia and quickly spread to the United States. These alcoholic drinks look and taste much like sweet drinks such as soda, lemonade, or even milkshakes. Though the drinks are targeted toward drinkers who are of age, but do not necessarily care for the taste of strong alcohol. Most who enjoy the drinks are younger or barely of legal age. Unfortunately, these type drinks also became widely popular with youth who are drinking underage.
It is not surprising that alcopops, a popular media term, became popular with younger drinkers because the labels are colorful and the alcohol content is around 3 to 8 percent. Additionally, the drinks do not taste strongly of alcohol. One study found that only about 65% of adolescents who tried alcopops could even tell alcohol was present. Even initial advertising for drinks termed as alcopops were targeted to a younger crowd, typically showing twenty somethings in trendy clothing having fun while enjoying being young with a drink in their hand. Alcopop advertising also tends to rely heavily on pop-culture references that are more relevant with a younger crowd. This means teenagers and kids are drawn to the advertising and then to the drink.
Why is This a Problem
Since alcopops are alcoholic drinks they are not meant for those who are underage. Sadly, these are the most common drinkers. One population largely affected are wealthy children who may want to appear cool, but are not overly familiar with the taste of alcohol. These alcopops allow the children and adolescents to drink without the strong flavor. Unfortunately, without the flavor, children do not realize how much they have drank in a single sitting and may easily become over intoxicated. It has been shown that those who become problem drinkers tended to start drinking before the age of 18, with those who began drinking before they were 15 being up to seven times as likely to develop a problem.
Additionally, due to a high alcohol content, the highly intoxicated children are much more likely to get behind the wheel of a vehicle, not realizing the level of intoxication. This is not only dangerous to the driver and passengers, but all those on the roadways. Those who are young and intoxicated are at a higher risk of irresponsible behaviors overall. They may engage in sexual activities without thought of protection, take other drugs, or just make overall bad decisions. It is also documented that the risk of suicide is higher for children who are under the influence.
It seems hopeless that drinks not meant for children are still marketed toward those of their age. Those kids with access to money to buy and share these drinks may be headed down a dangerous path that lands them in a rehabilitation facility later on, or the in the least, a need for one.
Help for Addicted Youth
If you or your child have an alcohol problem or one that is quickly developing, then seek help. It is better to get help early when possible. There are many rehabilitation facilities that can help, such as DARA. Your child deserves the best and it is just a phone call away.
CLICK HERE to get a Free Confidential Addiction Rehabilitation Assessment.