Already banned in several states, a new poll suggests that support for powdered alcohol – which was legalized this year – is low among adults. A new University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health cites concerns that the product may be misused by underage youth.
Yesterday, Medical News Today reported on a study that found a significant decrease in the prevalence of underage drinking among 12-20-year-olds over the past decade. However, underage drinking remains widespread, that study also reported, with 22.7% of youths aged 12-20 engaging in illicit alcohol use.
However, some people are concerned that the proposed “alcohol-on-the-go” powdered alcohol products – travel-friendly pouches that turn into cocktails when mixed with liquid – have a strong potential to increase abuse of alcohol by those not yet old enough to legally drink.
“The product’s makers tout powdered alcohol as improving convenience for people who enjoy the outdoors and others who want to travel light with alcoholic beverages,” says Dr. Matthew M. Davis, director of the National Poll on Children’s Health and professor of pediatrics and internal medicine in the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor.
“Given that several states are considering legislation about powdered alcohol, our poll looked at what the public thinks about this new product,” Dr. Davis continues. “The majority of adults agree that powdered alcohol may spell trouble for young people.”
Play the video below to see Dr. Davis further explain the poll’s findings:
When the nationally representative poll was conducted in May 2015, about one third of the respondents had heard about powdered alcohol. All respondents were given “pro and con” information on the product before they were asked for their opinions
The results suggest that 60% of adults are in favor of a total ban of powdered alcohol, with 84% in support of prohibiting online sales.
Eighty-five percent of adults also agreed that advertising for powdered alcohol should not be allowed on social networking sites, where it might make the product more appealing for young people.
Eighty-one percent of respondents also thought that it may be easy for people under 21 to purchase powdered alcohol.
Nearly all participants – 90% – stated concerns that powdered alcohol would be misused by people under the age of 21. Many people – 85% – were also worried that powdered alcohol may increase alcohol use among under-21s.
Previous studies have reported that American adults view alcohol abuse as one of the 10 biggest child health problems affecting the US today.
Dr. Davis concludes:
“In the US, parents, communities and health care providers already face serious challenges with underage alcohol abuse and its harmful effects on children’s health. This poll indicates common concern among our communities over potential abuse and misuse of powdered alcohol as well as the product’s potential to exacerbate the problem of underage drinking.”
Powdered alcohol is currently banned in the following states:
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
Several more states are also considering legislation to ban or regulate the sale of powdered alcohol, amidst concerns that the nature of the product would make it easier for drinks or food to be spiked with intoxicating doses of alcohol.