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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Energy Drinks With Alcohol Under Fire


There has been a lot of talk lately about how caffeinated alcoholic beverages are made as well as how they are being marketed. Your standard energy drinks these days are geared specifically towards younger consumers, especially those who are underage. Now with a mixture of alcohol and caffeine in one can people don't have to mix alcohol with drinks like Redbull or Rockstar; the problem is that the cans that have alcohol look not too dissimilar from those that do not. "Democratic New York Senator Charles Schumer is asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate how flavored, caffeinated alcoholic beverages are marketed, specifically those that appear to be geared to underage consumers", said The Associated Press (AP).

In a letter to the FTC chairman, Jon Leibowitz, Schumer wrote that energy drinks containers are meant to confuse parents and police with labeling that looks like labeling on similar nonalcoholic drinks, wrote the AP. Not only that, but these energy drinks typically have more alcohol content than your average beer. Now we have an alcoholic beverage that has more alcohol in it than a beer and it looks like the person drinking it is drinking a Rockstar. The Senator highlighted drinks such as Joose and Four Loko which contain 12 percent alcohol, nearly twice than what is found in a beer.

A Wake Forest University study showed that students who mix alcohol with caffeine "tend to be more likely to experience alcohol-related injuries versus students who drink alcoholic beverages without caffeine", reported the AP. It works like this, too much alcohol makes you tired, caffeine keeps you awake despite the alcohol; this allows people to think that they are able to drive despite the amount of alcohol they have consumed. Last year, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, principal deputy commissioner of food and drugs said, "The increasing popularity of consumption of caffeinated alcoholic beverages by college students and reports of potential health and safety issues necessitates that we look seriously at the scientific evidence as soon as possible".

Energy drinks with alcohol need to be addressed! They are packaged in colorful cans, come in juice flavors, and typically cost about $2.50-$4.00 per can and are stronger than beer. Drinks like these are easy to conceal from authorities and parents which makes them popular among teens. The conversation has started and now action is needed...

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