Local retailer catching heat for drinking-themed products

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by Arrianee LeBeau, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on May 9, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Updated Thursday, May 9 at 7:02 PM

NORFOLK--Popular retailer Urban Outfitters is catching some heat for selling a line of products that some say glamorizes prescription drug abuse and alcoholism.

The store is selling shot glasses and beer koozies that resemble prescription pill bottles, and flasks that feature a prescription-like label that says "Boozemin.”

The description on the shot glass reads, “Take one by mouth, repeat until intoxicated. Quantity: As many as you can stomach.”

The flask features a label prescribed by “Dr. Al Koholic."

Even though the item is marketed as a ‘gag gift,’ Dr. Paul Hardy said there’s nothing funny about the message it’s sending.

“It's a very sad thing to feel that people would package this in such a way that you would think you are taking a medication,” said Hardy.

Urban Outfitters appeals largely to teens and young people, a group Hardy says could easily be influenced by the products.

Hardy pointed out that 25% of American woman are addicted to prescription medications and said the pills are readily available to young people as well.

But some young people have a different opinion about the products.

Ian Cannon said it doesn’t send the wrong message to a college-educated person but thinks it might to an 18-year-old.

Cannon said the store is known for these types of products.

“I think at the end of the day, they have a lot of stuff like that. They have a flask that says, 'May harm my liver,' you know, stuff like that," said Cannon.

Elaine Evans thinks the items are a marketing ploy and aren’t a danger to young people.

“We are allowed to put whatever we want in our bodies, that's what's important about being in a free society.  I 'm not going to say this is wrong, because it's not.  It's marketing," said Evans.

13News reached out to Urban Outfitters for comment but they didn't return our calls or e-mails. 

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