Teen Trend: Vodka Gummy Bears?

Written by: Wendy Sunderlin, Youthologist and Founder of Teen Life Talks

I recently heard about a trend happening in our adolescent culture.  The concerning trend is called “Drunken Gummies”.  Most of us have heard of “Jell-O shots” as tasty, easy ways to consume alcohol, but now teens are soaking gummy bear candies in liquor and using this method to get drunk. The booze soaked candies are relatively odorless and the person eating them has no idea how much alcohol he/she is actually ingesting.  In less than a month, a “how to” video on YouTube had over 17,000 views on how to make these candies. Teens have been using this drinking method because the alcohol is hidden and eating gummy bears in school, with friends, or even in your car seems innocuous.  Authorities across the country are hoping parents will stay aware of this trend that is increasing in popularity.  Parents, one thing to look for if you see your child or other children eating gummy bears, is the size of the candy.  Booze-soaked gummies tend to look bloated and larger in size than the regular gummy bear due to the liquor content inside.

Similar stories are swirling about teen girls and boys soaking tampons in alcohol and inserting them into their bodies, either vaginally or rectally, with hopes that the alcohol will have quicker absorption into their bloodstreams than through drinking the liquor.  There have been documented cases of teens and young adults going to hospitals with alcohol poisoning just from utilizing this technique.   Likewise, rather than the traditional beer bong you’d experience at a college party, kids are sticking the tubing into their rectums with the hopes of getting a quicker effect from the alcohol.  This technique is called “butt chugging” and some teens are turning to this method hoping to avoid having alcohol on their breath if they were caught by their parents or the police.

Naturally, there are many concerns and consequences to these trends.  First, teens are uncertain of how much alcohol they are actually consuming using these methods.  There is no gag reflex that lets you know that you cannot handle any more alcohol in your system.  Second, using a tampon, which holds an estimated shot’s-worth of alcohol, can be absorbed directly into one’s system quickly.  If the individual becomes sick, passes out, or needs medical assistance, health care professionals may not know that they have to look in those areas which may delay treatment.  Third, vaginal or rectal irritation can result from using this technique.  Finally, teens seem to be misinformed about how this method might work for them.  While the alcohol will be absorbed directly into their bloodstream, it does not prevent them from passing a breathalyzer test.  These tests assess how much alcohol is in one’s bloodstream, not just on the breath.

So what can parents do to prevent their teen from trying out these concerning teen trends?  Start the dialogue with your teen using open-ended questions such as, “I heard about these scary teen trends happening in high schools and colleges across the country (explain the trend).  Have you heard about this?  What do you know about this trend?”  Then, take the opportunity to educate your teen about alcohol consumption and look for opportunities to correct any misinformation or misperceptions your teen may have.

This guest post is by: Wendy Sunderlin. To continue following teen trends, visit www.teenlifetalks.com or join the Facebook page for ongoing discussions, articles, and studies.

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“Raves – What Parents and Teens Need to Know”

Danielle is an 18-year-old teenager from Placentia, CA. She is passionate about music and writing. When she is not writing essays and articles, she is busy making music, studying, and hanging out at her favorite spots in the OC.

Since 2008 the growing popularity with the “rave scene” has picked up immensely among teens as young as 13. Electronic Dance Music
Festivals, better known as raves, have become a very dangerous place for young teens. Raves are for people to discover new music and connect with world class DJs.

Since the death of 15-year-old Sasha Rodriguez, who died of a drug overdose on ecstasy while attending the 2-day rave Electronic Daisy Carnival, the media has the rave scene under a microscope. The rave that Rodriguez attended was 16+, but somehow she easily found a way around the age limitation. Most raves used to welcome “all responsible ages” but since Rodriguez’s death, most events are restricted to 18+. However that doesn’t stop a lot of underage teens from using fake Ids. I’ve asked a few fellow “ravers” their opinion on taking these dangerous drugs at raves and their responses all led me to the conclusion that teens believe going out and experimenting with these drugs is harmless and fun. They don’t care about the game of risk they are playing with their lives probably because they are simply uneducated about the rave scene.

So here’s the question: Are teens responsible enough to attend raves? I believe so and with the right knowledge, not only can raves be safe for teens again, but also it will clean up the rave scene as well and reinstate “PLUR”. Let’s face it, teens are teens and we’re going to do what we want to do regardless. We teens always seem to find a way to get what we want if we want it bad enough. So parents, here’s a list of things that you should go over with your teens if you know they attend these events:

PARENTS – Talk to your teens about the dangers of experimenting with drugs and accepting substances from strangers, which includes even water. It is very common for someone to ask for a sip of a stranger’s water. A lot of times, people put drugs in their own water. It is not unusual. Educate your teen about the common substances handed out at raves: Ecstasy, LSD, Ketamine, etc.
– Make sure you know the venue and type of area the rave is being held at. Certain areas, especially in LA, are dangerous at 4am; which is usually when raves end.

– Some raves are “underground” which is extremely dangerous because it is off the radar. That means no security, no ambulances, and more drug trafficking.

TEENS – Yes, a lot of people are doing it but not everyone is doing it. Don’t use the excuse, oh that’ll never happen to me. I bet Sasha Rodriguez thought the same thing but you know what, its can happen to anyone. Don’t let that person be you. One night of “fun” is not
worth your life.
– For teen (girls), dressing up in almost nothing is dangerous and is pretty much “asking for it”. I know its fun to dress up but have some dignity. Having your junk hanging out all over the place is tacky and you’re giving the sexual predators out there exactly what they want. You’re making yourself vulnerable.
– Stay hydrated! Especially if you ignore this entire article (and your parents) and decide to experiment with drugs. It is really easy to pass out due to dehydration when on these substances and it is extremely important to drink a lot of water. I know a few people who have been rushed to the hospital due to dehydration at raves.
– Don’t accept rides home with anyone you didn’t know before the event. NO EXCEPTIONS! It doesn’t matter if your ride left you; call your parents or a friend. A lot of people may seem nice and offer you a ride home because they “live close to your area”. No matter how
nice they have been or how long you were with them throughout the night, you don’t know them.