New Drink Dubbed “Blackout in a Can”By
You’ll find it on the shelf labeled as Four Loko, but college drinkers refer to it as “Blackout in a Can“. Just months after the major alcohol companies were pressured into pulling their dangerous alcohol-pop drinks from the market, a smaller company called Phusion Projects rushed in to fill the void.
As soon as Four Loko began flying off of the shelves, young drinkers began flying into hospitals. The drink gained national attention earlier this month, when emergency workers confronted a college party gone bad. Over a dozen young female students were found incapacitated; some in cars, and some in bed with male partygoers, at an off campus party in Washington State. Nine of them were hospitalized with potentially life threatening levels of alcohol in their blood. Many jumped to the conclusion that a date rape drug had been used on the girls, but in fact, they had been consuming this new “alcohol energy drink“.
Unfortunately, this incident was just one of what is no doubt a much bigger pattern. At Ramapo College in Mahwah New Jersey, for example, there were 21 acute alcohol overdoses attributed to Four Loko in just the first six weeks of this school year. This prompted school officials to ban the drink from campus. Ironically, the hard hitting reputation of Four Loko has only made it more popular amongst those who drink for the purpose of getting drunk. Several Facebook pages have sprung to life in effort to preserve the drink’s open access.
It comes in a 23 ounce can that contains enough liquor to match four cans of beer. It also packs enough caffeine to rival a really good espresso. As the drinker’s intoxication increases, they are numbed to the rapidity and intensity of their actual drunkenness. Judgement and coordination are loopy, but the caffeine makes them feel wired. The dangerous combo is just too much for the drinker that likes to drink…too much.
In the end, it’s the reckless abandon of the “Loko’s” who drink this stuff that’s the problem. While the drink will undoubtedly continue to wreak havoc, drawing praise from some and criticism from others, the most appropriate response lies in an evaluation of our own drinking practices. For far too many, the “Drink to get Drunk” years impose a life-long toll. For far too many others, the toll includes death. It’s never too early to embrace responsible drinking practices.
For more information on alcohol and underage drinking, visit our Alcohol Tutorial.
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