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Alcopops pack a potentially deadly punch

The tops of several drink cans.

July 2, 2019— Researchers are sounding a warning about alcopops that everyone needs to hear. Alcopops are flavored alcoholic drinks that come in supersized 23.5-ounce cans. Their high alcohol content and cheap price may pose an especially dangerous risk to underage drinkers, according to a new study.

Supersized trouble

Alcopops come in tall cans that are almost twice the size of a standard beer can. Plus, they have an alcohol-by-volume level that can be about three times what you'd find in beer. So one can of alcopop can have the same alcohol content as a six-pack of beer.

For that reason, drinking just one can of alcopop can constitute binge drinking. That's dangerous for anyone. But it may be especially risky for teens, who tend to have a lower body weight than adults and less experience drinking. Drinking more than one can of alcopop could lead to alcohol poisoning or death.

Unfortunately, their cheapness may make alcopops more tempting and accessible to underage drinkers. As prices go down, alcohol consumption tends to go up, especially among youth, researchers say.

For the study, they collected nationwide price data on Four Loko. That's reportedly the most popular brand with underage drinkers. They found that one can retails for less than $3 on average. Plus, their sweet, fruity flavors, similar to soft drinks, may add to their appeal to younger drinkers.

Researchers are calling for the alcohol content of these drinks to be reduced, the price to be increased or the drinks to be banned altogether.

The study appeared in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Talk to your kids

In the meantime, it's important for parents to talk to kids about the dangers of drinking—and alcopops in particular.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting conversations about alcohol early, at around age 9.

To help you get through to your child:

  • Share the facts about the risks of drinking.
  • Keep the conversation casual and nonjudgmental.
  • Tell them stories about how alcohol has hurt people in your life.

And be sure they know that alcopops are way too much alcohol for anyone.

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