Urban Outfitters Controversy Du Jour: Rx-Themed Drinking Trinkets

Image: Urban Outfitters Controversy Du Jour: Rx-Themed Drinking Trinkets Pedestrians pass in front of 'Urban Outfitters' on 6th Ave. and 14th street in Manhattan.

Wednesday, 08 May 2013 02:23 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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Urban Outfitters, the Philadelphia-based retailer of clothing and funky accessories, is stirring up controversy for marketing a line of prescription drug-themed drinking paraphernalia.

The popular retailer has always pushed the envelope with its products, seemingly in an attempt to wrangle the coveted teen buyers, but its newest line has gone too far, critics say.

Urban Outfitters stores are now peddling shot glasses, beer koozies, and flasks that resemble prescription pill bottles, as well as syringe-shaped "shot shooters."

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The products are supposedly meant to be a tongue-in-cheek, but Drugfree.org says making light of drug and alcohol abuse just worsens the epidemic.

"These products make light of prescription drug misuse and abuse, a dangerous behavior that is responsible for more deaths in the United States each year than heroin and cocaine combined," reads a statement on Drugfree.org. "Medicine abuse has increased 33 percent over the past five years with one in four teens having misused or abused a prescription drug in their lifetime. Combined with alcohol, the misuse and abuse of prescription medications can be especially dangerous, making the Urban Outfitter Rx pint and shot glasses and flasks even more disturbing."

This isn't the first time Urban Outfitters has caused controversy with its edgy products. Last year, the chain offended Mothers Against Drunk Driving with a line of shirts that bore slogans such as "I Vote for Vodka," "USA Drinking Team," and "I Drink You're Cute."

Another T-shirt that simply read, "Eat Less," once drew criticism for promoting unhealthy body image.

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Despite its sometimes-controversial clothing and accessories, Urban Outfitters, which also owns Anthropologie and Free People, has increased its net income 28 percent during the last fiscal year, and its stock has gone up 58 percent over the last 12 months, according to MSN Money.

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