Learn about the rising popularity of sweet, sugary alcoholic beverages called Alcopops. See how treatment provides the help needed to achieve sobriety.
Sweet, Sugary and Popular
Alcopops are a type of sweet, sugary and alcoholic beverage. They are often made with a mixture of vodka, white rum or wine and can be flavored to taste like a soda. These beverages are often marketed to young and inexperienced drinkers who enjoy sweet taste of the drink in preference to other drinks like wine, beer or spirits. They range in price from very cheap to more upmarket types that are marketed as cocktails or wine coolers. Some alcopops also contain large amounts of caffeine or multiple types of spirits and wine.
Alcopops can be incredibly dangerous in high doses. They can contain up to 15 percent alcohol yet have very little alcoholic taste to them. Many people who drink these beverages consume a large number of over a short period before feeling the effects. Critics believe that these drinks have contributed to the increasing rates of alcohol-related violence amongst women, sexual assaults and rapes, and may increase the chances of developing negative health problems in the long term.
There are major concerns about the fact that alcopops have such a high appeal for young drinkers, especially girls, who are attracted to their sweet taste and bright colors. A lot of young people shy away from the strong and bitter taste that other alcoholic drinks have and enjoy the sweet, mild taste of alcopops. Manufacturers have been accused of seducing young drinkers and advertising their products in ways that make them appear to be harmless soda drinks. Additionally, many parents or inexperienced drinkers believe that these beverages are harmless and not as dangerous as hard liquor, which they often contain.
History of Alcopops
Alcopops are relatively new kind of drink relative to other beverages. These types of drinks first came onto the scene in the 1990s. Successful targeted marketing by companies like Bacardi and Smirnoff saw the popularity of drinks like the Bacardi Breezer and Smirnoff Ice go through the roof. These drinks were filling a void being left by wine, which was increasing in price across the United States, Australia and UK.
In the United States, alcopops are typically made from a mixture of un-hopped beers. The drink is processed by removing the majority of the malt and a substantial amount of alcohol, which leaves mostly water. To this, extra alcohol such as vodka, white rum or gin is added in addition to sugar, coloring and flavoring. These drinks are legally classified as a malt beverage and are able to be purchased in outlets allowed to sell beers. Restricted licensing that is applied to spirit-based drinks does not apply to these beverages. It should be noted that these drinks are often much stronger than beers and can contain over 12 percent alcohol.
Drinking To Get Drunk
Some people, including parents, believe that alcopops are less dangerous than other forms of alcohol. Underage drinking is a major concern and has been linked to adverse health consequences, impeded brain development and difficulties with interpersonal relationships. Young people often consume alcohol purely to get intoxicated, seeing it as a fun and exciting way to spend their spare time. Some are using alcohol as a way to fit in with peers or alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression or other mental health problems. A person who drinks alcopops not only places their physical health at risk, but also compromises their ability to overcome personal difficulties or integrate into social groups.
Younger drinkers have lower tolerance to alcohol and are more easily inebriated, which can be particularly dangerous when it comes to alcopops. The alcohol content of these drinks is often very high and can cause alcohol poisoning when consumed in a binge. Some young drinkers even consider it a badge of honor if they vomit or pass out from the affects of alcohol. Getting drunk to the point of severe intoxication is seen as fun and normal for some teenage and young adult groups, and they will boast about the crazy and dangerous things they do when drunk.
Inexperience with alcohol is common among young drinkers. Inexperience can mean that a person is affected by the intoxicating affects of alcohol and become involved in dangerous situations. Young drinkers are often more reckless, antisocial and violent than their more experienced counterparts. They will be more impulsive when they are under the influence. Unsafe sex, driving when under the influence, taking drugs and becoming involved in criminal activity are all know to occur more frequently among intoxicated persons. Alcohol can reduce inhibitions, alleviate social anxieties and boost confidence. However, it may also increase the risk of injury or disease and be a major factor in fatal accidents or suicide.