Drunken Gummy Bears Trend
This grown-up mix of vodka and candy is becoming a dangerous teen favorite. Here's what parents need to know about this alcohol concern.
How do you make gummy bears grow? As many teens are discovering, just add a little vodka to them.
Drunken gummy bears have become one of the newest trends among teens in an effort to hide alcohol use from their parents. In this simple and clever scheme, classic gummy bears are soaked in vodka and, overnight, become plump and infused with alcohol.
A savvy, accessible ploy
With 80-plus drunken gummy bear recipe videos on YouTube – and over 17,000 views on how to make the spiked gummies – it's no wonder kids are starting to catch on.
Put these innocent looking snacks into a convenient zip baggie, and your teen can carry them around as a snack without question or suspicion.
"It's intended to get around the alcohol laws," says Chief Doreen Olko of the Auburn Hills Police Department. "Clearly, with any use of alcohol by under-aged kids, the goal there is to reach some state of high – and, of course, that is totally unacceptable."
Dangers of kids drinking
The American Pediatrics Association found that more than 4 million adolescents drink alcohol in a month. According to SADD, 37 percent of students have consumed it before graduating from eighth grade.
"I think it's still not well known amongst kids and parents about the overuse of alcohol," says Olko. "Alcohol in growing bodies is a serious, serious problem."
The scariest part about this new trend concerns the amount of alcohol a child may be consuming – especially if they are treating drunken gummies the same way they would regular candy.
"A person can kill themselves by drinking too much alcohol," Olko says. "If you're eating it in candy (form), I certainly don't know how much it could take for you to lose consciousness. You could consume to the point that you could cease breathing and die."
"My guess is that if you are putting it in candy and using 100 proof vodka, it could go up pretty fast."
What adults can do
Olko urges parents and school officials to be on high alert for the treats and to notice if your child asks you to buy – or takes interest in – these types of treats. Alcohol can be soaked into almost any gummy candy, including the popular gummy worms and Swedish fish.
Kids often think that because vodka doesn't have much of a smell when poured from the bottle, it will be undetectable on their breath. "When your body metabolizes alcohol, it begins to smell when its coming out," explains Olko. "It still exudes from your body, so you aren't really hiding."
Parents should be able to tell if gummies are alcoholic by smelling them on their child's breath. The bloated size of the gummy will also be an indicator.
"It's a serious concern to think that kids are subverting candy in that way, especially at Halloween," adds Olko.