Four Loko, a maker of a caffeinated alcoholic energy drink marketed to young drinkers, is under fire because its formula of 12% alcohol plus caffeine has been deemed by the Food and Drug Administration, a public health and safety concern.
Four Loko comes in various sweet flavors including watermelon, lemonade and grape soda. With caffeine as an additive, a 24 ounce can of Four Loko is the equivalent of drinking five beers and a cup of Starbucks coffee. A person can consume one can of Four Loko and rapidly reach an alcoholic level of intoxication, but is not aware because the caffeine additive in the drink masks the symptoms of intoxication, resulting in a wide awake drunken state and risky behavior.
The individual not feeling drunk, stays at the bar longer, drinks more, and then maybe drives. The consumption of Four Loko has led to alcohol poisoning, car accidents and assaults. Some incidents linked to the consumption of Four Loko in the last few months include:
Demetrius Jordan, 20, who police said drank Four Loko and gin and caused a crash in St. Petersburg Florida killing a father and his three adult sons, who were enjoying a vacation together.
Two dozen Ramapo College, New Jersey students were hospitalized after drinking Four Loko, as well as nine students from Central Washington University who were treated for alcohol poisoning.
Four Loko is blamed for the death of 21 year old Courtney Spurry, a Maryland woman who crashed her Ford pick-up truck into a telephone pole after consuming two cans of Four Loko. Her grieving friends want the beverage banned.
Many states want to ban the drink as well as all caffeine-alcohol energy drinks. Several states already have. The FDA has ordered Four Loko, along with other alcohol-caffeine energy drinks including Joose,Moonshot and Core High Gravity to drop the caffeine from their beverages within fifteen days or be closed down. It will not be so easy now for drinkers to feel “Loko” .
The possible ban and mandated changes in the formula of Four Loko have resulted in fans of the $3 drink buying up all the cans containing the original alcohol- caffeine formula while they still can. Some call the FDA Government interference with their drink of choice another loss of personal freedom, comparing the situation to the recent invasive airport body searches.
St. Pete Times
Bay News Nine