Central Florida school districts warn teachers to look for 'drunk gummies'

Vodka-soaked candies pose risk to teens

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Where there's a will, there's a way, especially when it comes to teens trying to outsmart their parents.

Now, it seems they've found a way to disguise alcohol in candy.

The trend is so serious that two local school districts have issued alerts to teachers and principals to be on the lookout for gummy candies soaked in vodka.

The colorless, virtually odorless alcohol has become the choice for teens hoping to sneak booze.

The word is spreading like wildfire on social networks and on YouTube, where Local 6 found several "how to" videos with tens of thousands of hits.

And now teachers across Central Florida have been put on alert.

A Seminole County high school teacher tells Local 6 she's been told to watch for students with gummies on campus.

Lake County school officials are so concerned they've sent out a warning to all principals.

"They see this stuff and they want to experiment, and there's been similar cases in the past, so you just have to make principals aware of it and be on the lookout for it," said Chris Patton with the Lake County School District.

So how are the kids doing it?

They dump the gummies in a pan, pour the vodka over the bears, and let it sit.

After some time, the bears absorb the alcohol, turning them into an alcohol-soaked candy your child could be chewing on, even while sitting right next to you.

Parents said they were shocked.

"They smell like gummy bears, (but there's a) huge difference, you can taste the alcohol -- wow," said one mother.

"If I found my kids were doing that, I would explain why it was not good for them," said another mother.

With an entire bottle of vodka poured into a pan of gummies, there's no way for a child to know just how much alcohol they've ingested.

"Anytime you have a situation involving alcohol or drugs, you want to be able to address it very quickly and deal with it," said Patton.

"It's certainly easy to transport and take anywhere -- movies, football games, anywhere -- so yeah, it's highly concerning," said a mother who was surprised when she tasted one of the alcohol-soaked gummy bears.

And that's why Lake County school officials are so concerned. While they haven't had any cases, they want to be proactive.

Soaking candy in alcohol could result in an arrest, officials say.

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