Heads Up Parents

I have written about this before but now there is a reason to return to this topic of teen drinking.

As you may have heard, there was an incident over at Central Washington U at a house party where a dozen young people, mostlly women, passed out and were taken to a hospital. Initially the thought was that they had been slipped a roofie (date-rape drug) but they weren't.

So what was it? It was a type of energy drink called Four Loko. I don't know how this name came about but according to CBS news it has 4 times the caffeine of a soda and 4 times the alcohol level of a beer. So typically, if you are drinking too much, you may get drowsy before you pass out but this thing takes you from zero to sixty and that's why so many of these women just dropped.

The University has banned them from campus and now there's a call for them to be banned by the FDA. Both the Governor and state Attorney General Rob McKenna want to ban alcoholic energy drinks. From the Seattle Times:

Last November, after hearing from a group of state attorneys general, including McKenna, the FDA notified producers of nearly 30 caffeinated alcoholic beverages that it was concerned about the safety and legality of their products.

I reported on this previously because many parents did not know that there were energy drinks with alcohol in them. They are sold everywhere beer and wine are sold and the containers look exactly like Red Bull or other similar drinks.

I was happy to read this in the Times article:

The agency asked the companies to produce evidence that adding caffeine to their products was safe. And it noted that two major brewers, Anheuser-Busch and Miller, had agreed to discontinue their caffeinated alcoholic beverages, Tilt and Bud Extra and Sparks, and not produce any similar drinks in the future.

Good for those companies in recognizing the dangers in this product.

There is a great organization in Seattle around drug and alcohol use in teens called Prevention Works in Seattle. It works most in NE Seattle and West Seattle but they are a great place for info. There is also the Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking which has a "Starting Talking Before They Start Drinking" campaign.

Don't assume your teen or any teen is drinking "just" an energy drink. Trust but verify. You might save a life.


Anonymous said…

It is also common practice to mix vodka or other alcohol with energy drinks that do not contain alcohol, with the same danger of a toxic amount of alcohol being consumed because of the caffeine stimulation. This danger should be known to teens and young adults.
BettyR said…
There is also a party game to try and drink 4 of these Four Lokos in a certain period of time (I don't know if the kids at the WashU party were doing this though). One of the women had a blood alcohol level of 0.34!

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