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Four Loko and other caffeinated alcoholic drinks -- what two students have to say

November 11, 2010|By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times
  • Caffeinated alcoholic drinks have been banned in Michigan and Washington.
Caffeinated alcoholic drinks have been banned in Michigan and Washington. (Ted S. Warren / Associated…)

Four Loko and other caffeinated alcohol drinks may worry some doctors, parents, officials and others not referred to in the media as "young adults." But the "young adults" themselves are intrigued.

Two Skidmore College students tried the "blackout in a can" and gave the experience a thumbs down after vomiting and getting sick, says Dr. Orly Avitzur on the Consumer Reports' Health Blog.

He adds his own cautionary note: "While most kids pass out after drinking a certain amount of alcohol, the caffeine in Four Loko tends to keep them awake so that they can continue to drink. As a result, they seem to get drunk faster and are at a higher risk of alcohol poisoning."

Avitzur doesn’t say how much the students drank. Still, those concerns have prompted Michigan to enact a ban on sales of such drinks, the Los Angeles Times reports, and ban in Washington goes into effect Nov. 18.

Several college students across the country have found themselves in the hospital after ingesting too much of the drinks.

And at least one has died. As reported on U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer's website: Teenager Nicole Lynn Celestino died in August after drinking Four Loko on the heels of taking a diet pill. She went into cardiac arrest. Celestino’s grandmother Jackie Celestino said that the girl was an "average teenager" who had had no health problems, the Wall Street Journal reported. As a result, Schumer has asked the state liquor board to ban such drinks.

Four Loko maker, Phusion Projects, responded first to the Washington ban and then circulated an open letter to state and federal regulators about the safety of its drink, reports the Chicago Tribune’s blog Problem Solver.

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