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Friday, December 2, 2011

Alcopop Major Health Concern

Alcohol infused energy drinks have become a hot button topic over the last year due to the rise in emergency room visits related to such beverages. Despite the fact that government agencies were successful in banning the production of alcoholic beverages that contain caffeine, so called Alcopops are still a major health concern as they attract younger drinkers more so than traditional alcoholic beverages. They come in 23.5 ounce, single-serving cans that look like soft drink containers, with up to 12 percent alcohol content — the equivalent of 4.7 standard drinks.

“These products are extremely dangerous because they’re cheap, taste like soda and provide young people with a big bang for their buck,” says Michele Simon, JD, MPH, president of the consulting firm Eat Drink Politics, and the former research and policy director of Alcohol Justice, an alcohol industry watchdog group. “We need to bring these drinks down to a single serving.” She helped Alcohol Justice write model state legislation that would accomplish this.

In early October, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) forced an agreement with Phusion Projects, the maker of the controversial Alcopop Four Loko, to change the labels of the cans to say the drinks contain as much alcohol as four to five cans of beer. The FTC says the manufacturer falsely claimed that a 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko contains the same amount of alcohol as one or two regular 12-ounce beers.

Drinking a single can of Four Loko in one sitting constitutes binge drinking, according to federal guidelines. Alcopops are extremely dangerous even without the caffeine, consumers hardly realize how much alcohol they are actually consuming due to the fact that they are typically fruit flavored and are in colorful cans, the potential for alcohol poisoning is huge.

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