The FDA is expected to issue a major ruling Wednesday concerning caffeinated alcoholic drinks. One Maryland university is already outlawing them, including one of the most popular–and controversial–Four Loko. Kelly McPherson explains why some say these drinks are just too dangerous.
A year after putting energy-alcohol drink manufacturers on high alert, the FDA is expected to finally address nationwide concerns about energy drinks that contain alcohol.
“You have a lot of energy; you feel like you can do anything,” said Amber Coulbourne.
Several tragedies have been linked to Four Loko, a drink with the caffeine equivalent of four sodas and the alcohol in five cans of beer.
In Washington State, nine college students who drank Four Loko were hospitalized; one nearly died.
In Maryland, Courtney Spurry crashed a pickup truck on the Eastern Shore after her friends say two cans transformed the 21-year-old.
“She was not the same person. She could not remember people’s names. She blacked out within 30 minutes of having the alcoholic beverage,” said Abby Sherwood.
“She died and other people will die if they stay on the market,” said Doug Gansler, Maryland’s attorney general.
Gansler has pulled other alco-pops off the market and Four Loko and Joose are next on his list.
“Attorneys general are working collectively to ban these products from the market. We’re also working with the federal government, the FDA, to get them to ban it nationally,” Gansler said.
The FDA is expected to effectively ban these drinks this week, after much encouragement.
“When you look at this can, it looks like an energy drink and I believe they are deliberately marketing this in a deceptive way. At the very minimum, there should be warnings,” said Chuck Schumer.
Administrators at Mt. St. Mary’s University in Emmittsburg have not documented any problems with these energy drinks but they’re being proactive.
“What we’re hearing through colleagues are very serious individual student issues, like students who have come close to death from drinking at a party. Maybe the whole party was involved but these individual students who are in very dangerous situations,” said an official.
That college ban started this month. Other universities across the country are also banning these drinks on campus. Right now, four state’s attorney’s general have passed a ban.
The FDA announcement is expected this week, possibly Wednesday.