Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

What Is Your Son Drinking?

It’s not just the rate of teen alcohol use but which alcoholic beverages and brands were most often used by teens that was the topic of a recent study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Researchers determined that:

  • Half of underage drinkers drink one or more of the top 25 brands chosen by youth.
  • About 28 percent of under-21 drinkers drank Bud Light in the last month.
  • About 17 percent of under-21 drinkers drank Smirnoff brand beverages in the last month.
  • About 15 percent of under-21 drinkers drank Budweiser in the month prior to the study.
  • Other popular brands among underage drinkers include Coors Light, Jack Daniel’s, Absolut, Captain Morgan’s, Corona, and Mike’s.

David Jernigan, PhD, is a co-author of the study. He is also the director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He says, “We monitor what brands of cigarettes kids are smoking, which was how we knew about the popularity of Joe Camel. But until now, no one has been monitoring what brands of alcohol they are drinking. We’ve shown that this kind of study can be done, and now it should be done on a regular basis.”

Marketing and Underage Drinking

Though tobacco companies were long ago banned from marketing to teens and young adults, alcohol companies have no such restrictions placed upon them as of yet. Studies like this one pave the way for a better understanding of the way marketing affects the drinking habits of teens. Even if laws are not passed to limit the marketing of alcohol to teens, at least future studies can help to increase the awareness of parents. The more parents understand about what is being marketed to their children, the better able they will be to defend against it and recognize it as a warning sign if their son begins wearing t-shirts that depict certain brands or uses certain alcohol brand names as slang terms when talking to friends.

Rates of Teen Alcohol Use and Abuse Are on the Rise

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that about 50 percent of teens have had an alcoholic beverage by the time they are 15 years old. By the time they are 18, about 70 percent of teens have tried alcohol. The more they have been exposed to alcohol ads and marketing campaigns, the more likely they are to drink at a younger age, and the younger the age of the first drink or drug use, the higher the rate of a lifelong drug or alcohol abuse issue.

If you are concerned that your son is drinking and progressing down a path that you feel is dangerous or causing him problems, we can help. Contact us at Muir Wood today to learn more about our teen-focused rehabilitation program here in Northern California.