'Drunken Gummies' or 'Boozy Bears': Latest Teen Alcohol Craze

PHOTO: Florida officials are warning parents about a new candy that kids are using to get drunk.
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This is not your average bear.

Colorful gummy bears are being transformed into "boozy bears" or "drunken gummies," alcohol-laden candies that kids as young as middle-school-aged may be eating right under their teachers' noses.

Florida health officials are warning schools about the latest craze -- kids soaking gummies in alcohol and bringing them to school in clear plastic bags.

Apparently the gummy "worms" work the best for the purpose. Officials from the Lake County Safe Climate Coalition, a nonprofit group that targets youth substance abuse, have experimented themselves.

"Of course, we tried it," said the group's executive director, Debi MacIntyre. "You lay a couple of them in the bottom of a pan and the alcohol is gone by morning. They are long and skinny, and they actually plump up quite big."

These clandestine treats have been reported in New York and Nebraska, as well.

Two Florida teens told ABC News' Fort Myers, Fla., affiliate, WZVN, also known as ABC News-7, that drunken gummies are the latest trend in hiding alcohol use.

"I have to say they're pretty good," said Adam, 17.

"If [my parents] saw gummies in my backpack, I think they'd think, 'Oh, that's nice,' and not think anything of it," echoed Sarah, 17.

"It has a kick to it because of the alcohol, and it's fruity also," she said. "It's good. It would be better than taking a shot because shots just go down gross. So you just take a handful of gummies."

Cape Coral, Fla., police have also been warning parents about the candies, which are potent enough to make a child or teen drunk. One officer ate the gummies for one hour and was too drunk to drive, according to WZVN.

Numerous websites offer instructions on how to prepare the boozy candies: Put them in a flat cake pan and fill with alcohol. It absorbs within 24 hours, expanding the little bears to twice their size. Vodka gummy bears even have their own Facebook page.

"Yes, they're great, but sticky," said one Facebook user.

Lake County, Fla., officials first heard about the trend from their colleagues in Jacksonville.

"Our concern is just to let people know, because Lake County is a suburban rural county outside Orlando and we tend to copy what other kids are doing," said MacIntyre. "If they are doing it in Jacksonville, it will catch on quickly here.

"We are letting principals know what to expect," she said. "As a former teacher and principal, if I see a kid pull gummy bears out of a baggie left over from his brother's Halloween bag, now that they are soaking them with vodka and gin I will think twice about it."

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