Supersized alcopops linked to homelessness and gang affiliation, new regulation needed

October 15, 2020

Supersized alcopops are single-serving flavored beverages with very high alcohol content. Consumption of these drinks is linked to dangerous consequences such as blacking out, vomiting, being injured or worse, and they are popular among underage drinkers, which is where prior research has typically focused.

However, supersized alcopops can be dangerous for everyone - regardless of age. New research led by .

Among those who experienced homelessness, 30% consumed supersized alcopops, compared to 11% of those who did not experience homelessness. Further, 57% of those who were gang-affiliated reported consuming a supersized alcopop within the past 30 days compared to 11% of those who were not gang-affiliated.

Adults on probation who had consumed supersized alcopops in the past 30 days had higher scores for hostility and risk-taking, and lower scores for self-esteem on the Criminal Justice Client Evaluation of Self and Treatment Intake (CJ-CEST) than non-consumers.

The researchers surveyed 253 adults (70% male) on probation in two large metropolitan areas: Baltimore City, MD and Dallas, TX who reported heavy drinking or any illicit drug use in the past 90 days.

"The marketing and retail availability of these products may be creating and perpetuating health disparities, by targeting historically disenfranchised communities," explains Rossheim. "Better regulation of supersized alcopop marketing is urgently needed to reduce dangerous alcohol consumption--particularly among high-risk groups, including people who are homeless, gang members, and display more hostility and risk-taking traits."
This research was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health under award number R01 DA029010 (Walters, Taxman). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


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George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services prepares students to become leaders and shape the public's health through academic excellence, research of consequence, community outreach, and interprofessional clinical practice. George Mason is the fastest-growing Research I institution in the country. The College enrolls 1,918 undergraduate and 1,371 graduate students in its nationally-recognized offerings, including: 5 undergraduate degrees, 13 graduate degrees, and 7 certificate programs. The college is transitioning to a college public health in the near future. For more information, visit

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