Four Loko

October 26, 2010 by Post Team 

Four Loko, ELLENSBURG, Washington – sugary drinks with high alcohol content of energy that are popular among college students who want to get drunk quickly and cheaply came under renewed scrutiny researchers announced Monday that nine freshmen were hospitalized after drinking them at a party off campus.

Several states are considering banning the drinks and at least two universities have been banned from campus, while the Food and Drug Administration of its security patches.

The issue received renewed attention after the October 8 part in Roslyn, a picturesque mountain town known as the place in the 1990s television series “Northern Exposure” was filmed.

Police first responded to a report of an unconscious woman in a parking lot of a grocery store and found out the party of his friends. At home, agents found a chaotic scene, with students from the nearby Central Washington University and passed out so intoxicated that researchers thought they had a drug overdose.

Nine students who took a caffeinated malt liquor called Four Loko were hospitalized with alcohol levels in the blood, which range from 0.12 percent to 0.35 percent, and a student on the verge of dying, CWU President James L. Gaudino said. A blood alcohol concentration of 0.30 percent is considered potentially lethal.

All students were hospitalized drinkers inexperienced freshmen aged 17 to 19. Toxicology results showed no drugs in his bloodstream, although a small amount of marijuana was reported at the party, the university police chief Steve Rittereiser said.

Some students admitted drinking vodka, rum and beer with four Loko, which is made by Phusion Projects Inc. of Chicago.

Phusion said in a statement that people have consumed caffeine and alcohol safely for years. The company said that the markets for their products responsibly to legal age for drinking and shared with university administrators in order to make safe and healthy campus environment.

“The incident unacceptable Central Washington University, which seems to have involved hard liquor such as vodka and rum, beer, our products, and possibly illegal substances, is precisely why they do everything possible to ensure that our products are not sold to underage consumers and not abused, “the statement said.

Four Loko comes in several varieties, such as fruit punch and blue raspberry. , 23.5 ounces and sells for about 2.50 and has an alcohol content of 12 percent, comparable to four beers, according to the website of the company.

Health advocates say the caffeine in the drink may also suspend the effects of alcohol consumption, which allows a person to consume more than usual.

“It gets you very drunk very fast and gives you lots of energy so it will not be down and sleep,” said 18-year-old freshman Van Cotthem Hyatt CWU Everett, Washington, who said that tried to drink, but not drink, because the flavor is “disgusting.” He did not attend the party.

Regulation of these drinks might be a good idea, Cotthem said, because he has seen so many students do stupid things when drinking. But he and a friend also questioned that drinking alone could have caused such havoc.

“There is no way that four Loko caused all these people to go alone,” he said.

The nine students ill have recovered and returned to their classes. No criminal charges have been filed, but Rittereiser said the investigation on the origin of alcohol continues.

Alcoholic beverages prohibited Gaudino power CWU campus Monday after the president of Ramapo College of New Jersey, which banned drinks last month after several students hospitalizations attributed to four Loko.

“Not that we had seen a lot of consumption, but had seen enough that we care, because I was in situations of extreme intoxication,” said Ramapo President Peter Mercer Monday. “Having seen no redeeming social value to it and see the damage and danger that could mean, I ordered a ban.”

Mercer said he looks forward to the results of FDA review and supports a prohibition of beverages in New Jersey.

Utah and Montana have restricted the sale of caffeinated malt liquor only state liquor stores. A bill to prohibit the drinks on the state of Washington failed in the Legislature earlier this year, but McKenna and Gov. Chris Gregoire, said he would support another effort.

McKenna also said his office will examine the marketing of these drinks, especially minors, to determine whether consumer protection laws have been violated. The state previously expressed concern with two largest brewers in the nation, LLC MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, similar drinks.

“We never filed a lawsuit against them because they acted as good corporate citizens and recall,” said McKenna.

Steve Schmidt, spokesman for the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, said many states feel the need to act quickly on the issue because the drinks are growing in popularity.

“There’s really a feeling that people who consume these beverages do not understand how much alcohol you are drinking,” he said. “These products represent a contribution, and are relatively cheap.”


AP Manuel Valdes in Seattle contributed to this report.

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