As part of the Ultimate Black Belt Test, Team 6, graduation I recently attended a presentation by the Marin Institute in Marin County just north of San Francisco.
The subject of the presentation was ‘Alcopops’, which they’ve defined as alcoholic beverages that are often bubbly and fruit-flavored, and resemble soda or other soft drinks.
These include the energy drinks that have the same or similar names, and look almost the same as the non-alcoholic energy drinks that are so popular with teenagers. This ploy makes for an easy transition to the spiked (and dangerous) energy drinks – the flavor is the same, and they have no taste of alcohol. In many cases the alcoholic drinks cost less than the twin non-alcoholic drinks.
While the figures I’m about to quote pertain only to the studies done in California, they have relevance in every community in the United States.
·The alcohol industry makes $210 million a year in alcopops sales to California’s
·Young drinkers in California ages 12-20, on average, consume 5.5 times more alcopops per year than adult drinkers.
·Underage drinkers consume 47 percent of all the alcopops in California.
·Because the alcohol industry calls alcopops “flavored malt beverages,” California’s
Board of Equalization (BOE) currently taxes alcopops as beer, at the relatively
low rate of 20 cents per gallon.
·The Marin Institute estimates that underage drinking of alcopops costs California a
total of $1.25 billion annually in public and private money.
·Underage consumption of alcopops costs 60 lives and causes over 50,000 harmful incidents per year.
·By classifying alcopops as distilled spirits it would increase the price of these beverages by 25% and reduce underage consumption by about 35%. This reduction
could annually save California $437 million, save the lives of 21 youths and prevent more than 17,000 incidents of harm.
Adjusting for the populations of all of the States, these are freighting numbers. By supporting legislation to change the classification and branding of alcopops, including energy drinks, we could make a difference in our communities.
Awareness is the first rung of self-defense.