Yep, you read that correctly. Drunk gummies. According to a report via abcnews.com, teenagers as young as middle schoolers are taking these fruit flavored, alcohol drenched bears or worms to school as a mid-class snack.
Here are what some teens are saying, according to the news report:
Two Florida teens told ABC News’ Fort Myers, Fla., affiliate, WZVN, also known as ABC News-7, that drunken gummies are the latest trend in hiding alcohol use. “I have to say they’re pretty good,” said Adam, 17. “If [my parents] saw gummies in my backpack, I think they’d think, ‘Oh, that’s nice,’ and not think anything of it,” echoed Sarah, 17. “It has a kick to it because of the alcohol, and it’s fruity also,” she said. “It’s good. It would be better than taking a shot because shots just go down gross. So you just take a handful of gummies.”
You can read the whole story, complete with video, here. These cases have been reported so far in Florida, New York, and Nebraska.
So, it got me thinking, “Am I going to get funny looks at the check out line the next time I purchase multiple large bags of gummy bears for a youth group game?” But seriously, alcohol is a known rite of passage for adolescents. And, as the report says:
Research on teens reveals that their frontal lobes — the part of the brain that controls executive decision making and impulse control — are not yet fully developed, making them prone to poor choices. “Weighing the pros and cons and seeking solutions are beyond their capacity,” said Pitman. “They are not bad or stupid — they are just not able to do it yet. I look back to my teens. They think they are invincible.”
Here are some questions this report raised for me:
- How do we talk about alcohol and substance abuse with our adolescents?
- Do we chop up drunken gummies to the lack of fully developed frontal lobes, basically saying, “Teens will be teens . . . .until their frontal lobes develop.”?
- In what ways can our youth ministries aid adolescents when it comes to discerning life choices?
- How do our communities of faith model discernment?
- How can we talk about these life decisions without just saying, “Don’t do that!”?