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Senator Wants to Ban ‘Blackout in a Can’

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

 

The drink Four Loko has been nicknamed “blackout in a can” for good reason. The new beverage packs the equivalent of five regular cans of beer in one can—and is so dangerous that one state senator says it should be outlawed in Rhode Island.

“It seems clear to me that, disclaimers from the manufacturer notwithstanding, this drink is being targeted to young people and primarily college students for one sole purpose – so they can get as drunk as possible as quickly as possible and stay that way until they pass out or get sick,” said Senator John Tassoni, D-Smithfield, North Smithfield. “It is not the kind of beverage that we should allow for sale in this state because of its potentially dangerous consequences.”

Caffeine adds to effects of drink

In a press release, Tassoni said the drink also contains guarana, a caffeine-producing fruit, which makes the alcoholic high last longer than it otherwise would. He said he will pre-file legislation that would ban the sale of the drink in Rhode Island.

His announcement comes after more than 30 people were treated for alcohol-related illnesses or injuries at a center at the University of Rhode Island early last month. Similar incidents have occurred at colleges elsewhere in the country in recent months. At Central Washington University in Washington State, nine female students were hospitalized after drinking Four Loko. And a 19-year-old Philadelphia teen had a heart attack after consuming the drink.

Company says it's committed to fighting underage drinking

The company that makes the drink, Chicago-based Phusion Projects, issued a letter last week to college presidents, affirming its commitment to combatting underage drinking and alcohol abuse. The company also said it had not had a chance to address all of the criticisms of its product.

“If the company were truly responsible, it would take this dangerous beverage off the market,” Tassoni said. “All the reports we are seeing prove that, even if used by people who can legally purchase alcohol, Four Loko is highly dangerous and exists for one reason only – to get people drunk quickly and cheaply and, by adding caffeine, keep them that way so they can drink more until they pass out or get sick.”

One state - Michigan - has already banned sale of the drink.
 

 

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