Just back from Orlando and the annual underage drinking conference sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Oregon Partnership conducted three well-attended workshops on how to use the media in helping getting messages across, moving policy, and creating action to cut down on underage drinking.
And we learned a lot. The biggest surprise was hearing about the newest challenge to anybody who despises how the alcohol industry markets to teens.
Get ready for energy drinks that contain alcohol. Combine that with major amounts of caffaine and sugar, and folks, you’ve got a dangerous combination.
If you haven’t heard about Rockstar 21, Sparks, and Tilt, you will.
They’re even marketing these products as ways to “party all night.” On the Tilt and Bud Extra websites ( Anheuser-Busch products) they say “Move from party to after-party,” “Get your second wind,” and “Who’s up for staying out all night?”
Energy drinks are popular with teens, and gaining in popularity. And it’s obvious to the California-based Marin Institute – which released in Orlando an exhaustive report on alcoholic energy drinks – that the alcohol industry is targeting teens and young drinkers.
The public health ramifications are huge. So now, we’ll have more young people drinking alcoholic beverages that will keep them drinking longer as a result of the addition of caffaine and sugar.
The Marin Institute is recommending that the producers of energy drinks containing alcohol take them off the market, that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services conducts research on the health and safety of energy drinks and that the Federal Trade Commission investigates energy drink producers’ marketing practices.
We’re going to be hearing a lot more about all this. OP plans to get out the word locally and nationally.