In a shockingly new development, teens and tweens are taking to alcoholism in a new way – via gummy bears! Gummy bears have traditionally been children’s eats and sweets. In fact, in some places, teens were teased as being kiddos if they continued chewing gummy bears. But all that is changing! Soaking the gummy bears in vodka, teens have discovered a ‘cool’ way of eating gummy bears after spiking them. And this dangerous trend and fashion is fast spreading.
Why is it becoming popular?
Anything that is discovered does not spread unless it is put on some popular channel or carrier. Unfortunately, in this case, the carrier is a globally popular site- YouTube! There are many easily accessible YouTube tutorials on how one could spike gummy bears with Vodka by soaking them. The news and the horrible discovery has gone viral and threatens to grow into epic scary proportions. And guess what? The teen mentality is usually such, that information about the availability of spiking gummy bears on YouTube, takes them closer to the tutorial rather than away from it!
These tutorials have been on a rise and their popularity seems to be growing, going by the number of hits or visits. The instructions given are deliberately detailed so that even the dumbest teen could follow.
The thrill of doing something ‘adventurous’ always drives the teens and tweens. And being able to do it without anyone noticing has a greater attraction. Since, vodka is odorless, it cannot be detected. This fact adds to the thrill of doing something without the parent’s notice. And that is sufficient motivation in itself to make the vodka-spiked gummy bears. Add to this the peer pressure a teen/tween faces when all the others in the friends’ circle are indulging in it.
Why is it dangerous?
It is dangerous simply because consuming alcohol is dangerous. Toxins get produced in the body when alcohol breaks down. They poison the liver and eventually kill it too! Soaking gummy bears in vodka, however, has many more dangerous consequences. Vodka is odorless which means it cannot be detected. This gives the teens and tweens a false sense of security that they are not being harmed as badly as they would be if they consumed alcohol.
Strengthened by that false assumption, they continue to eat gummy bears as they used to eat them before – popping them one after another into the mouth. There is no way of measuring how much alcohol is entering the system! While drinking, there are some standard acceptable amounts which the body is known to tolerate. Nobody can say how many gummy bears is the limit, as it depends entirely on the extent of soaking. But eating the gummy bears makes the person exhibit all the classic symptoms of alcoholism.
Social behavior gets modified and the teen starts behaving crazily. Nobody is able to stop the teen in time too for the vodka cannot be detected till some time after it has been assimilated. Driving on the roads may pose to be a fatality for the teen or the other pedestrians. The dangers of losing one’s mind also translated into fire hazards and other accidents at parties and homes.
Thus, there is a danger that a teen may bite off more than he/she can chew and end up losing consciousness.Thus, a hangover at a tender age becomes a distinct possibility. In worst cases, the teens and tweens may even ‘drink’ or rather eat gummy bears to death!
What parents can do?
Parents have to take an active role before they lose their child to alcoholic addiction. Remember that addiction to alcohol is a very possible danger! The gummy bears need a few days to soak. So, if you notice anything funny in the refrigerator, do not fail to investigate. Even if the spiked gummy bears have been prepared without your notice, one look at the gummy bears will tell you everything. The spiked ones will be at least 20 percent larger than the normal ones.
If you fail to notice the dirty habit at this stage also, there is one more way. Though vodka is odorless, it starts smelling as it gets assimilated. So, though the teen hides it from you during the preparation stage, there is no way it could be hidden after consumption. Be wary and attentive. If your child is already on to the habit, do not scold or treat it badly. Make him/her understand. Try to understand why the ten got into it in the first place. Be loving and persuasive.
Teach them the ABC of life – Avoid Bad Company. Help the teen out of peer pressure. Tell them about how valuable they are for you and that you do not want to lose them to alcohol. For the worst cases, there are many support forums and groups available for help always.