Should the government ban caffeinated alcohol drinks?

There was a time when caffeine and alcohol did not mix. A time when people would get increasingly tired when they consumed alcohol. A time when people would only have a glass of wine, or a couple beers in a night then go home and fall sleep.

Times have changed.

Four Loko was introduced by Phusion Projects - out of Chicago, Illinois - in 2005. Its name is derived from the four main ingredients within the beverage: caffeine, guarana, taurine, and alcohol. Studies show that this drink is equal to six beers and four cups of coffee per 23.5 oz can.

Four Lokos have been criticized wildly by the public since their inception five years ago. In fact, they are set to be banned in all 46 states where they are sold starting Friday. The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter to the company last month stating that adding caffeine to a malt beverage is an unsafe food additive. One particular study conducted at a University in Florida found that Students who mixed caffeine with alcohol reported that they were more capable to drive than those who chose not to have a drink mixed with caffeine.

The product positions itself as an affordable way to get a buzz and party all night. Almost since the first day it was on the market, college students have gravitated toward the product and it has become a fixture at college parties. Early on, colleges in New Jersey and Boston banned the product on campuses following hospitalizations induced by the drink. At Central Washington University, nine students became sick after drinking Four Loko at a house party off campus. Out of all the students - aged 17 to 19 - one particular student was taken to the hospital where he blew an astounding .30 blood alcohol level. That student almost died that night. A .30 is equivalent to approximately 15 beers, minus the caffeine.

Although Phusion issued a statement that they want to re-release the product after caffeine is removed going into the new year, it is clear that Four Loko can be as lethal as any drink in existence. Four Lokos and other caffeinated malt beverages like this have changed the face of consuming alcohol.

What is your opinion on the banning, possibility of a re-release, and general concerns about the product? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

By: Jordan Henry CNY Central