Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Four Loko

If you haven't heard about Four Loko yet, it's probably because you're either not a college student or you drink responsibly.

It's an energy drink with alcohol. Think Red Bull and vodka, except more potent & cheaper than $6 a drink. It's really only 12% alcohol, but when you combine that with the carbonation, one can of Four Loko is equal to 4.7 beers. And it comes in many different, very tasty flavors. I'm a fan of watermelon. And I'm drunk before I finish a can. Which leads to the next point - because of all this, it's been referred to as "liquid cocaine" and "blackout in a can." College campuses are warning their students about it. My own campus - although a bit late to the party - just updated the Health Center's dry-erase board with Four Loko information and warnings. But here's the thing: college kids notoriously love drinking, and when you tell kids about a drink like Four Loko, they're not going to say, "Hey, this sounds potentially dangerous." They're going to do what my friends and I are doing and make it a party staple.

That said, kids have gotten really sick and some deaths have even been blamed on Four Loko. Talks of a ban are going down in Pennsylvania and the Liquor Control Board has asked distributors to stop selling it. Some have and others are refusing until an actual ban is imposed, and on Four Loko's website searching for distributors in PA isn't possible. But is this the government's business?

There's no denying that Four Loko can be dangerous, but aren't all forms of alcohol? Warnings are fair since not everyone is aware of how a combination of alcohol, caffeine, and carbonation all work together, but a government ban may be going too far. Should those of us who are aware of and pay attention to their limitations while drinking be deprived of a drink we enjoy because others are choosing to abuse sch a strong drink? Beyond that, what will a ban accomplish? All that will do is force kids who want it to cross state lines, then kids will start buying it by the case and selling it. We could have a whole Four Loko black market on our hands, and it won't solve anything.

The one thing I am sure of? I have a good time with it and I'm going to keep drinking it.

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