Is drug culture bleeding into the lives of youth in America? The trend of adolescents snorting the popular candy Smarties is sweeping America. This is a staple candy of my youth; I can’t remember one halloween that I didn’t receive a few Smarties in my bag. They were often the last candy to be eaten because they were not one of the sweeter candies, but today children seem to have this popular candy on the top of their list.
The candy industry has always provided a way for children to look as cool as the older kids. In the early 20th century candy cigarettes hit the market. The candy cigarette gave children a way to “look cool” just like the actors they saw in movies. This culture has been making it’s way into the lives of children for quite some time. Popular movies such as Scar Face, Blow, and 21 Jump Street showcase a variety of drugs, in many ways making it look exciting to a younger audience.
The youth in America have always been searching for ways to seem as cool as actors in movies. Children have been caught smoking and snorting all types of things to imitate things that they have seen in movies. In 2007, children were first caught snorting the popular candy Smarties. These children were trying to imitate the use of cocaine that they’ve seen in movies or heard about. Snorting Smarties offers no form of intoxication for these children, they were doing it just to imitate the use of cocaine.
Although this problem has been around since 2007, the use of the internet and media has increased this problem into a nation wide trend. With so many children having access to YouTube, it is easy for something to go viral in a matter of minutes. A spark of videos of children crushing and snorting Smarties has brought this problem to center stage in America. The media is a double-sided sword when it comes to this issue. On one side, the media is bringing this problem to the attention of teachers and parents across the country, on the other side it is also informing youth across America of the new trend.
The trend of snorting or smoking Smarties offers no intoxication for children but does offer a slew of risks. Dr. Oren Friedman, a Mayo Clinic nose specialist, has identified a list of problems that may occur from smoking or snorting this popular candy. Dr. Oren Friedman indicated that the possible risks are cuts, lung infections, scarring of the nasal cavity, irritation of the lungs, allergic reactions, and the possibility for maggots to feed on the dust that becomes trapped in the nose. Practices such as this have also been indicated as a precursor to future drug use in America’s youth.