We’ve told children to “just say no” to drugs for decades. But how potent is our message when the drug dealers come in the form of The Candy Man or The Soda Papa?
There has been a lot of discussion recently about the Energy Drink “Blow” or “I Love Blow” which, packaged in vial form along with a fake credit card and mirror, is marketed to look and sound like cocaine. Parents and educators just like you are outraged. If you don’t know about it yet, here’s the gory story:
The firm which manufactures the substance has defended it to the end but they recently were slapped with a warning letter of violation from the FDA. Which says;
“Your product, Blow, is a drug, as defined by Section 201(g)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act), 21 U.S.C. § 321(g)(1), because it is intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals…Your sale of Blow without an approved application violates these provisions of the Act.” The whole letter is here.
Of course, this substance is not the only one getting parents up in arms. In December 2007, The Hershey Co. were criticized for creating mint packets (Ice Breakers) that were in the spitting image of the small bags used to sell illegal drugs like heroin, crack and cocaine. Police felt that it “glorified the drug trade.” And who could forget the energy drink “Cocaine” that was pulled from store shelves in May of 2007 after it received a letter from the FDA citing problems similar to those they spelled out to the makers of “Blow.”
Is this “fun way” to market candy and energy drinks” bringing our children one step closer to the drug world? If they become comfortable with seeing vials and packets in everyday marketing, might they be more easily swayed to try the “real stuff?”
And let’s not forget to mention, that many of these drinks are packed with caffeine (an actual drug children shouldn’t be ingesting!)!
Too much caffeine can cause:
jitteriness and nervousness
increased heart rate
increased blood pressure
Let’s get a comparison:
Espresso 77 mg
Brewed Coffee 107.5
Mountain Dew Game Fuel 120 mg
Starbucks Double Shot 130 mg
Rockstar Energy Cola 150 mg
Blow Energy Drink 240 mg
Cocaine (energy drink) 280 mg
And how about those wonderful candies for kids? My colleague, Amy Jussel of Shaping Youth, gives us the lowdown from “Crackheads” to “Buzz Bites.”
Manufacturers believe this shameless marketing isn’t a big deal and couldn’t possibly have an influence on children. Marketing caffeine to children? Packaging candy and energy drinks with a illegal drug motif?
On our quest to raising responsible, healthy children, we may need to teach the Candy Man and The Soda Papa a little character.