Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

Candy: Luring Kids to Substance Abuse

Advertising alcohol, cigarettes, and other addictive substances to children has been a long-standing practice—and a successful one at that—but one that the governing agencies have attempted to curb in recent decades.

Marketing Techniques

First, it was cigarettes that were no longer allowed to cater to children. Any ads with cartoons or talking animal mascots were forbidden. Next, alcohol came under fire, especially with the energy drink and alcohol cocktails that seemed designed to catch the eye of teens. Now, the focus is on marijuana. Newly legalized, one of the foci of lobbyists in terms of upcoming legislation is how to ensure that the products are not marketed to young people.

But legalized drugs aren’t the only concern. Illegal drugs, with no standardization in their production, distribution, or sales, are often designed to be attractive to teens. With catchy names, catchy packaging, and slang terms to define their use popularized in music and on TV, the “cool” factor is often a lure to teens and difficult for parents to combat with common sense and scary statistics.

Early Drug Use = Lifelong Addiction

Dealers of drugs, legal or otherwise, focus their attentions on the young for a reason. A young person who becomes a customer has a high chance of becoming a lifelong addict and a customer until death—a constant source of income. How do they do it? Here are just a few examples:

  • Cold medicines used in large amounts to get high are often referred to as “candy” or “skittles.”
  • A mixer of chocolate in a synthetic street drug called 2CI
  • Marijuana and cocaine rolled together are often called “candy sticks.”
  • Marijuana is also used to make candy designed to mimic popular candies on store shelves. It’s called “weed candy.”
  • Drug dealers themselves have been referred to for decades as the “candy man.”

It’s not difficult to see that the “fun” light in which these dangerous substances are cast is designed to belittle the warnings of educational professionals, police, and parents. If it’s so fun, if it’s candy, is it really that dangerous? Many teens are willing to take the risk to find out for themselves.

Is Your Teen Abusing Drugs?

If you believe that your son has fallen for the “candy man,” make sure that he understands that this kind of candy can be deadly. For more information, call us at Muir Wood at the number provided above. We can help you determine which type of intervention and treatment will be most effective for your son’s needs in recovery.