Officials concerned about alcoholic energy drinks on campuses
Officials locally and nationally are taking a closer look at the Four Loko drink.
Four Lokos are flavored, highly caffeinated drinks sold in 23.5 ounce cans that contain between 6 and 12 percent alcohol by volume. Sgt. Scott Friedlein of the Champaign Police Department has noticed an increasing prevalence of the Phusion Projects product in the Champaign area. He said that as the drink became more popular, he noticed more unruly behavior.
“People would typically drink this as they would a regular can of beer,” Friedlein said. “The problem is it contains similar to five shots of alcohol, some people say a six-pack of beer, and then four cups of coffee on top of that. Where our concern is, that quick accelerated consumption of that much alcohol is going to really cause problems for people who aren’t used to consuming alcohol in the first place.”
Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is looking into Four Loko (among other caffeinated alcoholic products) for safety concerns. Phusion Projects said on its website that it is cooperating with the federal government.
more of the sky falling
From first glance, Four Loko appears to look like a can of AriZona Ice Tea — something fruity to quench your thirst on a sunny day. Flavors range from orange to blue raspberry, grape to watermelon. But upon closer inspection, one can of Four Loko seems to reveal a far more sinister and less than sweet purpose.
With an alcohol content of 12% and as much caffeine as two cups of coffee, it is an indisputable fact that Four Loko is in no way beneficial to one’s health — yet for many students, this fact does not deter one from drinking it.
Trey Ward, a senior in the College of Engineering, said “Drinking Four Loko with your friends is an extremely entertaining experience.”
Undeterred from the harmful effects Four Loko has on the body, Ward said that Four Loko provides countless humorous anecdotes that are too good to pass up. He also mentioned that each time he and a few friends tried it, the result has always left them with an interesting story to tell, and it is for this reason that Ward believes students continue to buy packs of Four Loko.
One unforgettable story concerning a wild barn-dance has Ward admitting that in spite of reports of alcohol poisoning he is still likely to purchase the beverage.
“It’s just interesting to see what’s going to happen,” Ward said. “In a lot of ways drinking it turns into a contest,” he said.
This article is going to make people want to try it more.
Adan Miranda, senior in LAS, said that Four Loko may not be as dangerous as health officials are reporting — if drank in moderation.
“If you drink one can to pregame, you’re going to get buzzed, not ridiculous,” he said.
Unfortunately, Miranda notes that because students “try to drink it like regular beer” it is fairly easy to be rendered out of control by the night’s end.
“I’ve seen people, especially girls, who have gotten sick and throw up because they think they can drink two cans consecutively,” he said.
If this isn’t reason enough to consider ending consumption of such a harmful beverage, Ward provides one last reason: humiliation.
“Four Loko made my friend look like a fool at that barn-dance,” he said, laughing.
We're all going to die.