Sioux Falls, SD
If your teen is starting to buy more gummy bears and eating more candy, they could be taking part in the newest trend that's sweeping the Midwest.
Kids are now using gummy bears to get drunk. They're doing it by soaking the candy in alcohol.
Officials say a teen using gummy bears to get drunk isn’t a widespread problem in South Dakota, however, school districts in the area have received warnings about the growing trend. Alcohol counselors want parents to talk to their kids about this now before it does become a problem.
"We sent out an e-mail to our administrators with the school districts we work with," Darcy Jensen with Prairie View Prevention Services said.
Jensen works with school districts across the state as part of the Parents Matter campaign to curb teen drinking. She says she sent out a warning to schools just last week about students soaking gummy bears in alcohol to get drunk.
"This is just a new trend that we're seeing. New in a way to conceal the alcohol so you're not carrying the bottle or the glass. Using the candy as kind of the vehicle or way to consume the alcohol," Jensen said.
She wants parents to know so they can find out if their teen has ever taken part in this new trend.
"Maybe someone has offered the candy and they didn't even know. So telling the kids ahead of time this could be something to be aware of is important," Jensen said.
She also says it's important for parents to use this opportunity to talk with their kids about underage drinking itself.
"It's a good conversation starter to talk about the whole issue of alcohol and underage drinking and the hazards," Jensen said.
Besides South Dakota, the Rock County Sheriff in Minnesota says he has sent out information alerting school districts in his county about this trend just this week.