Alcohol Marketers Target Youth

Here’s part of a piece from an HIV/AIDS blog with information that we’re all probably vaguely aware of, but which bears repeating:

While the popularity of various illegal substances rises and falls, alcohol consistently remains the granddaddy of recreational drugs. New forms of alcoholic drinks began appearing in the 1980s, first with wine coolers and then flavored alcoholic beverages (that’s FAB, for short) and energy drinks. They have gained popularity, especially among youth. Now, just months after the FDA urged the removal of caffeine from alcoholic drinks such as Four Loko, beverage companies are once again shape-shifting their fruity-tasting concoctions and they’re literally bigger than ever: they’ve been supersized. The new packaging, still largely targeting young (and often underage) drinkers, features a 23.5 ounce can with a 12% alcohol content. That’s equivalent to four or five beers (a fact that marketers of the product recently agreed to change Four Loko’s label to reflect). They’re cheap, accessible, and highly potent.

Why is this a concern? The numbers tell the story. 10.7 million underage youth drink alcohol, and about 70% of those youth binge drink, resulting in harmful physical consequences, poor judgment, lower inhibitions, and an abundance of high-risk sexual behaviors. And the concerns extend beyond youth. Excessive consumption of alcohol is a significant health concern for everyone,