Wednesday, March 9, 2011
After alcohol infused energy drink companies were instructed by the FDA to remove energy enhancers like caffeine from their products it would only be a matter of time before so called "alcopops" would be banned altogether. Removing energy ingredients was helpful but it did not change the fact that malt beverages with 12 percent alcohol in flashy colorful cans still encouraged binge drinking among young adults and even minors. Binge drinking is extremely dangerous taking the lives of people and sending others to the emergency room for alcohol poisoning. Marin Institute is distributing a model statute(PDF) that will aid states in designing their own legislation to limit "alcopops". Six states -- California, Illinois, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Vermont - are working on bills that would ban such drinks altogether.
"Anheuser-Busch InBev's Tilt brand, Phusion Project's [sic] re-formulated Four Loko line, United Brands' reformulated Joose line and some of Mike's Hard Lemonade products", are all, according to a press release from the Marin Institute, targets of the new bans. "Alcopops" are considered beverages in 23.5-oz cans and contain up to 12 percent alcohol, which Marin Institute estimated is about the same as 4.7 standard drinks, or four or five beers. "They took the caffeine out of their drinks," said Bruce Lee Livingston, who directs Marin Institute, "but now they are fueling youth binge drinking with giant single-serving cans of "alcopops"." 10.7 million underage Americans drink, according to Marin Institute, and about 70 percent of them binge drink, which inevitably ends up costing the country $60 billion a year.
Binge drinking leads a number of youngsters on the road to addiction which changes their lives forever, anything that would help curb such behavior is a step in the right direction. The federal ban on caffeinated alcohol drinks was not enough, claims Michele Simon, research and policy director at Marin Institute. "As the primary regulators of alcoholic beverages, the states have full legal authority to ban dangerous alcoholic products like supersized "alcopops"."