A rush and a buzz are bad mixers

Down a 24-ounce can of Four Loko and you’re getting a ton of caffeine plus the equivalent of almost three beers for under $3.

Loaded with 12 percent alcohol, Four Loko is just one of several energy-plus-alcohol drinks on the market. The drink is made with gaurana, taurine, caffeine and wormwood (the vital ingredient in absinthe).

Four Loko flavors such as cranberry lemonade, watermelon, brazillian berry and orange blend are becoming popular among young adults who want to get inebriated faster and get an extra dose of caffeine.

This popular alcoholic energy drink, however, has become a contentious topic. By some it’s known as “legalized liquid cocaine.”

The fact that mixing alcohol with caffeine can be risky and dangerous is not news to college students and medical experts.

In a study conducted at Wake Forest University, college students who mix alcohol and caffeine are more likely to experience more alcohol-related injuries than students who stick solely to alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol are also diuretics, and the two combined can cause severe dehydration.

According to The Wall Street Journal, attorneys general in many states are examining Four Loko’s possible health risks. They are also looking into the marketing practices used to sell it.

At first glance, the packaging of this energy-alcohol drink looks like your typical soda or an iced tea at a corner market. But don’t be fooled.

The colorful, inviting Four Loko cans inspire curiousity in consumers. Not to mention, these drinks are quietly placed next to Red Bull and Monster at gas stations.

Even politicians and community organizations are speaking out against Four Loko. A candidate for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives said this drink “is having our young people black out.”

Clearly this drink is designed to appeal to the college market. In a culture where binge drinking is a common occurance Four Loko shouldn’t be the go-to drink of the evening.

More than one can could be one too many.

Ordering one vodka and Red Bull at a bar is not the same as downing a Four Loko in the parking lot outside of a 7-Eleven.

You don’t have to read the fine print to know that this product requires drinking responsibly.

Blacking out is dangerous no matter how it happens.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

September 22, 2010


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.