Monday, November 29, 2010

Alcoholic energy drinks a symptom of a larger problem

In an effort to shift the conversation about the banning of alcoholic energy drinks, a Boston Globe columnist writes, ". . . Four Loko is merely an upstart outlier that is easy to pick on. The bigger issue is underage drinking and binge drinking. We remain a hypocritical nation that wags our fingers at kids not to drink but lets top beer companies target them with advertising."

While the column goes on to discuss the huge amount of alcohol ads that minors are exposed to, I would add that there are multiple factors that influence underage and binge drinking, including advertising and alcoholic beverages that are attractive to young people. Factors such as local laws and their enforcement; parental and community attitudes and actions; and opportunities for youth to play meaningful roles in their communities and to be recognized for their positive contributions.

While banning certain alcohol products and reducing alcohol advertising will reduce underage and binge drinking, there are more strategies that communities need to consider when acting to prevent youth substance abuse.

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