Monthly Archives: April 2011

17 Attorneys General Call on Pabst to Stop Marketing Blast to Young Drinkers

Calling the new fruity alcoholic drink Blast by Colt 45 “binge-in-a-can,” 17 attorneys general are asking the drink’s maker, Pabst Brewing Co., to stop marketing the beverage to underage drinkers and to significantly reduce the number of servings of alcohol in each can.

The drink, being promoted by rapper Snoop Dogg, comes in a colorful can containing 23.5 ounces, with an alcohol content of 12 percent—more than most cans of beer, CNN reports.

The letter to Pabst was written by Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and signed by the attorneys general for Arizona, California, Connecticut, Guam, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Washington and the city attorney of San Francisco.

In a press release, Gansler says, “Anyone who consumes a can of Blast within an hour will have engaged in binge drinking as defined by public health authorities.” He added, “At a time when we’re fighting to prevent underage and binge drinking, we call upon Pabst to rethink the dangers posed by Blast, promoted by a popular hip-hop celebrity, as a ‘binge-in-a-can’ in sweet flavors and bright colors aimed at the youngest drinkers…I hope our letter asking Pabst to take swift and responsible action will also be heeded by other companies who produce these unsafe ‘supersized’ alcopops.”

CNN reports that Pabst Chief Marketing Officer, Jon Sayer, responded in a written statement that Blast is only meant to be consumed by those above legal drinking age. “As with all Pabst products, our marketing efforts for Blast are focused on conveying the message of drinking responsibly,” the statement said. “To that end, the alcohol content of Blast is clearly marked on its packaging.”

Source: drugfree.org

Study On Teen Substance Abuse Highlights Need for Screening and Prevention Programs

A new study showing marked increases in teen use of marijuana and Ecstasy over the past three years underscores the importance of incorporating screening and prevention programs into all health care interactions with adolescents and their parents, says a leading expert on adolescent substance abuse treatment.

“Any time professionals have an option to work with parents or teenagers, even if it’s not directly about a substance abuse issue, they should be putting drug use on the radar screen,” says Ken Winters, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota, and Research Scientist at Treatment Research Institute. “Many health care settings don’t have the luxury of specialized and expensive drug treatment, but a quick screening and a brief discussion about drug use should be more achievable in pediatric and other adolescent health settings.”

Teen Drinking Normalized

Dr. Winters said the findings of the 22nd annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), released by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and MetLife Foundation earlier this month, echo the reality that substance abuse treatment professionals see every day. The study shows that underage drinking has become more normalized among adolescents. Of those teens who reported alcohol use, 62 percent said they had their first full alcoholic drink by age 15, not including sipping or tasting alcohol. Of those teens who reported alcohol use, 25 percent said they drank a full alcoholic drink for the first time by age 12 or younger. Almost half of teens (45 percent) said they do not see a great risk in heavy daily drinking.

Age of first use is critically important: research has shown that more than 40 percent of those who start drinking at age 14 or younger developed alcohol dependence, compared with 10 percent of those who began drinking at age 20 or older.

The study also found that marijuana use is on the rise. Past-year marijuana use among teens increased by 22 percent (from 32 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2010). There was a 67 percent increase in the number of teens who reported using Ecstasy in the past year (from 6 percent in 2008 to 10 percent in 2010).

Prescription Drug Abuse

The PATS survey touched on an issue that parents are often unaware of: teen abuse of prescription medicines. The data found that 25 percent of teens reported taking a prescription drug not prescribed to them by a doctor at least once in their lives, and 23 percent used a prescription pain reliever not prescribed to them by a doctor. “Health care professionals need to alert parents that if they’re taking prescription drugs, they can’t just take the medicine home and put it in an unsecure place —that’s risky,” Dr. Winters says. “Parents are often surprised to find out how common it is for teenagers to take medication from the medicine chest and use it or sell it. We have to remind them not only to monitor their prescriptions, but also to dispose of unused medications with the many drug disposal programs that are now available.”

Source: drugfree.org

National Study Confirms Teen Drug Use Trending in Wrong Direction

Following a decade of steady declines, a new national study released today indicates that teen drug and alcohol use is headed in the wrong direction, with marked increases in teen use of marijuana and Ecstasy over the past three years. The 22nd annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) affirms a disturbing trend that has emerged among American teens since 2008 and highlights that as underage drinking becomes more normalized among adolescents, parents feel unable to respond to the negative shifts in teen drug and alcohol use. The study was released by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and MetLife Foundation.

According to the three-year trend confirmed in this year’s 2010 PATS data, there was a significant 67 percent increase in the number of teens who reported using Ecstasy in the past year (from 6 percent in 2008 to 10 percent in 2010). Similarly, past-year marijuana use among teens increased by a disturbing 22 percent (from 32 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2010).

“You’re seeing this weakness in this generation of teens’ attitudes around drug and alcohol use,” Steve Pasierb, president of the partnership, told the Associated Press. “It’s not like this generation of kids thinks they’re more bulletproof than others, but they really don’t see any harm in that heavy drinking.”

The new data underscore alarming patterns in early adolescent alcohol use and found that teens view drinking alcohol – even heavy drinking – as less risky than using other substances.

• Of those teens who reported alcohol use, a majority (62 percent) said they had their first full alcoholic drink by age 15, not including sipping or tasting alcohol.

• Of those teens who reported alcohol use, one in four (25 percent), said they drank a full alcoholic drink for the first time by age 12 or younger.

• Among teens who reported drinking alcohol, the average age of first alcohol use was 14

Source: drugfree.org