The Dangers of “Blackout” In a Can
“Four Lokos are blackouts in a can and the end of my morals”: This Facebook fan page has earned 73,855 fans. The info box on the fan page says, “12% alcohol with the fruity taste of your choice WARNING: you will remember absolutely nothing in the morning….It’s a Four Loko thing…”
The Four Loko craze has been taken to a new level however as one college has taken a stand and banned the drink from the campus.
Last week, Rampo College in Mahwah, New Jersey banned Four Loko from the campus after 23 students were hospitalized with alcohol poisoning from this drink alone, according to the Associated Press.
For those who don’t know about the drink, which has become increasingly popular at parties this year, Four Loko is a 23.5-ounce can with the same caffeine equivalent as a 12-ounce coffee and 12% malt alcohol, costing roughly $2.50. It seems to be the perfect drink for those on a college budget. The drink is not alone, with its main competitor being Joose. Joose contains 9% or 12% alcohol and roughly the same amount of caffeine.
Every weekend college students’ Facebook status include Four Loko in some way shape or form whether it be in the night of in excitement or the morning after in regret. Sophomore Andrew McMahon told The Mirror, “It’s flavored gasoline that makes the night forgettable.” Kenny Vigilo ’11 described the drink as being, “the yams of all drinks, its simply gets ya going.”
Senior Steven Hannigan took a harsher look at the drink saying, “I mean Four Lokos get you drunk but they’re terrible for you, worse than Sparks, worse than Red Bull and Vodka. The alcohol slows your blood regulation while the energy drink portion speeds it up so it’s terrible.” Noting, “Yet, we all still drink them.”
Four Loko is a, “a binge-drinker’s dream because the caffeine and other stimulants allow a drinker to ingest larger volumes of alcohol without passing out,” Central Washington University chairman of the school’s physical education department told CNN.“Being able to feel the effects of tiredness, loss of coordination and even passing out or vomiting are the body’s defenses against consuming doses of alcohol that will kill you,” CNN was told by professor Ken Briggs, of Central Washington University. The School is currently struggling with containing Four Lokos, which has caused Washington’s State Attorney General Rob McKenna to look at having the FDA ban the drink.
Rumors that the Attorneys General of Connecticut and New York will also request a ban as well have been circulating, but remain unfounded.
Dean Thomas Pellegrino, “Drinks like Four Loko and Joose, which contain relatively high concentrations of alcohol and caffeine are currently being looked at. Whether its use is prevalent or not, it appears to have significant and potentially harmful effects.” Continuing he said, “My understanding is that the beverage is being examined by the attorneys general of several states including Connecticut, and its safety is being assessed by the Food and Drug Administration.”
Pellegrino hoped that because Fairfield students have seen tragedies and dangers at other schools in recent weeks that it would serve as, “sufficient evidence to motivate students to make informed and intelligent choices when it comes to these potentially harmful substances.”