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By Oscar Cherniak

Recently, I interviewed a member of our student body who shared her thoughts with me about drinking until drunk and how it made her feel. These are the thoughts of our very own Zoey Jones:

I think I learned my lesson about drinking. The stuff tastes terrible and the effects the next day are worse. I've been trying to figure out why drinking is so popular with teenagers, trying to figure out the appeal. I guess the reasons are kind of the same as the reasons I chose to drink that night - I was trying to be someone I'm not, just trying to fit in. It feels so easy when you're drunk. Until the vomiting and the hangover set in, you feel invincible… like you can get away with anything.

I believe that Zoey's experience is typical for many, and there are always new ways for the booze moguls to attract new followers. In my research on statistics about teen drinking, I chanced upon something called Alcopops. Alcopops is a term that has been created to describe a kind of alcoholic drink that is a mix of alcohol and pop – alcopop. These drinks are really controversial because they're marketed at teens, not adults. These drinks make drinking easier than ever for teens, as they remove the biggest obstruction to drinking – the horrible taste.

Even though the legal drinking age in most of Canada is 19 and 21 in the United States, alcopops are the most popular teen drink to hit the market in years. Once I started to do some research, I was totally shocked at the statistics.

  • 90% of teens think that offering newer, sweeter drinks (alcopops) will make teens want to try drinking earlier
  • 41% of teens between the ages of 14 – 18 have tried alcopops
  • Twice as many 14 – 16 year olds prefer alcopops over beer or other alcohol
  • Teens like the look, the sweet taste and the easy-to-drink nature of alcopops
  • Teens were more aware of the brand names of alcopops than adults

These facts have scary implications for teens, given that most alcopops are being marketed to teens. Even more disturbing is the fact that most alcopops contain at least 5% alcohol by volume (the same as most Canadian beer and a higher percentage of alcohol than American beer).

Teen drinking is a problem that needs to be addressed through education, and not sugar coated with the sweet taste of 'alcopop'. Make the right decision for you and know what you're getting into if you decide to drink. Just remember, you control your actions, but if you're drunk, you sacrifice that control and possibly your self-esteem as well. Trust me, you don't want to throw up alcopop all over your shoes.

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