Know! Parent Alert: Smoking Smarties and Drunken GummiesWhile neither of these concepts is necessarily new, Smoking Smarties and Drunken Gummies are two current trends among today’s youth that have rapidly grown in popularity thanks to YouTube, social media sites and other popular online tween/teen hangouts. If you are wondering how one smokes a Smartie or concocts a drunken gummy, just “Google” it. Then you, like youth across the country, will unfortunately have instant access to hundreds of instructional videos. Know! the facts to share with your child to help curb curiosity and deter experimentation: Especially popular among the middle school crowd is Smoking Smarties. The candy is not actually smoked, but it appears to be, as the crushed candy dust is inhaled and then blown out to mimic a puff of cigarette or marijuana smoke. The obvious drug reference is the whole point of doing it, and part of the problem with this “activity.” Youth are also reportedly snorting Smarties as well. Prevention experts say this practice may display a child’s willingness to engage in risk-taking behaviors and may be one step closer to experimenting with the real thing. The physical danger with smoking or snorting the candy dust is that particles (acting as shards of glass) can be inhaled into the nose, throat and lungs, which long-term, can cause infections, chronic coughing and choking. Drunken Gummies are vodka-infused gummy bears, gummy worms or other gummy candies that pack a deceitfully, powerful punch. Because these alcohol-soaked candies are virtually odorless and unsuspecting, youth report sneaking these “treats” into the classroom, sharing them with friends at sporting events and even boldly snacking on them in front of their parents or other adults. In addition to the many risks associated with underage youth consuming alcohol, the danger with drunken gummies is the unknown amount of liquor contained in each piece of candy. Students may pop several gummies in their mouths without realizing how much they are consuming and dangerous intoxication levels can occur quickly. There is a two-part lesson for us parents here: One, we need to monitor and be aware of what sites our children are frequenting online. And two, we must talk to our children about the health risks of these and other hazardous teen trends that my seem harmless at a glance, but are unsafe, unhealthy, unpredictable and in the case of youth consuming drunken gummies, illegal.Source: “Know! is a program of Drug-Free Action Alliance.”CTCADA offers both adolescent intervention and treatment programs. Education, individual counseling, family therapy, group counseling and referral to other resources are all part of a comprehensive effort to prevent or intervene in youth alcohol and drug abuse. Call us at 254-690-4455!