Alcohol Industry Targets Latino Teens
"Hispanic young people are more likely to drink and get drunk at an earlier age than non- Hispanic white or African American young people". What parents can do…
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"Hispanic young people are more likely to drink and get drunk at an earlier age than non- Hispanic white or African American young people"- The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY)2003. It was noted by the same source that alcohol use contributes to the tragically shortened lives of many of our young. The three leading causes of death for Latino 12-20 year olds are unintentional injuries (including car crashes) homicide and suicide, alcohol is a major factor in all of them. The CDC reports that Hispanic teens are more likely to make a plan about how they would attempt suicide and then actually attempt to carry it out. The misuse of alcohol is taking a deadly toll on the young.
Latino teen's attitude to riding in a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking is likely to be less stringent than that of their non-Hispanic or African American counterpart. The CDC National Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2007 reported that Latino teens (grade 9-12) are more likely to ride with someone who has been drinking, and more likely to drink alcohol on school property. This has led to the fact that the leading reasons for teens to seek out addiction treatment, is alcohol.
Hispanic teens are by far the largest ethnic youth population in the US. And as estimated by the Pew Charitable Trust by the end of the decade nearly 1 in 5 young people ages 10-19 will be Hispanic. These figures are what make this crisis with the misuse of alcohol so devastating and many times deadly for the young.
"…while many factors influence an underage persons drinking decisions…there is reason to believe that advertising plays a role" Federal Trade Commission (FTC). After all why do any of us buy a Coca Cola? Does it have something to do with relentless advertising?
According to the same report from CAMY the alcohol advertisers spent 23.6 million dollars in 2002 to place ads on 12 of the 15 most popular television programs that are most popular with Hispanic youth including Vias Del Amor, Ver Para Creer, That 70s Show and Mad TV. The beer and ale industry was the seventh highest spending industry on Spanish language television in 2002 outspending makers of cars, soft drinks and motion pictures, notes the Pew Charitable Trust.
This has lead to a significant overexposure of Latino young people to alcohol advertising. Magazines and television are two of the mediums that target disproportionally Hispanic youth. In magazines our young people saw 24%-32% more advertising for beer, ale, spirits, and low-alcohol refreshers than non-Hispanic counterparts. Not only that but the frequency of these advertisements is substantially great than for non- Hispanic youth notes CAMY.
The level of investment by the alcohol industry is increasing dramatically. The report continued that the alcohol industry spent more than $1 billion for advertising on network, cable, Spanish language and spot television alone in 2002. Univision, Telemundo and Telefutura were the leading networks to run the advertising in 2002.
Talk to your children about Alcohol
This is an initiative from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) that highlights the need to talk to your kids before it is too late. The bottom line is that the stronger and more trusting your relationship with your children the more likely they are to delay drinking.
It noted that alcohol is a drug as surely as marijuana and cocaine are and it is just as dangerous. The pressures that young people face in school to drink are increasing, hence the need for parents to let their children know how they feel about underage drinking and that it is not OK. The same source mentioned that if parents were to keep quiet about their feelings on the matter of alcohol the children will perceive that it is OK to drink.
Parents can make all the difference. So many studies and parents own experiences have shown that even though teens may appear to not be listening to parents the fact is that involved parents do have a huge impact on the lives of their kids. As many studies have noted the child's brain it still developing during adolescence and is not yet 'fully wired'. The NIAAA discussed how this is part of the reason that teens seek out new, thrilling and sometimes dangerous activities which would include drinking. Hence the need for parents to still help the young person make sound decisions regarding alcohol.
More resources are available from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) part of the National Institutes of Health in Spanish and English