Energy drinks are all the rage right now, with everyone from college students, to parents, to hardworking employees drinking them for a little extra energy. While the health risks and benefits to some of these drinks may be debatable, a new kind of drink is going through much scrutiny right now. Alcoholic energy drinks are common among young people, but we should be aware of the dangers of these drinks.
Four Loko looks like your typical energy drink, but it is found in with the alcoholic beverages. It’s cheap ($2-$3 a can) and full of alcohol and caffeine. It comes in a variety of fruity flavors, and though it may look and taste harmless, there are some real dangers with Four Loko and other drinks like it.
The main danger with these drinks is the misconception that that many people have that the caffeine will somehow cancel out the alcohol. Four Loko is 12% alcohol by volume; more than double the amount of a beer. When you drink one or more, you will become impaired, but the caffeine tends to mask the intoxicated feeling and lead people to think they are not drunk. The drowsiness associated with drinking one of these cans is covered up by the caffeine, and so is the feeling of lack of coordination. But someone that has had too much of this drink is no more ready to drive or make decisions than anyone else that has had that much alcohol. The danger is that people that drink Four Loko often miss the signals of being drunk, even when they are. When people combine alcohol with energy drinks, they are four times more likely to think they can drive home. But intoxicated is intoxicated, and no amount of caffeine can take that out of your system.
The FDA is looking into Four Loko and other alcoholic energy drinks. Four Loko is still being sold, but because of recent incidents it has been banned at Central Washington University and New Jersey’s Ramapo College. Students at these schools were recently hospitalized for alcohol poisoning after drinking Four Loko.
Four Loko is not the only drink that combines alcohol with caffeine. Popular drinks like rum and coke or Irish coffee have been around for years without an uprising like is going on now. It is possible to drink beverages like these responsibly, just like any alcoholic drink. But many people have misconceptions about Four Loko and more and more continue to abuse it. We will most likely see a banning of this drink in the future because of its increased abuse.
Before consuming something, we should really know what is in it, and the risks associated with it. Unfortunately, an alcoholic drink like Four Loko is marketable to young people, who often drink without knowing the dangers. We all need to drink more responsibly.
This article was written by Bethany Winkel
Joining the TSN online family in 2008, Bethany has used her skills as a writer to reach many people through her blog. Always eager to be a help to others, she is pleased to see her writing become a source of information, encouragement, and hope for those impacted by substance abuse. Bethany is happy to be involved with an organization that is making a difference in the lives of others. Bethany has also held the position of development coordinator for a nonprofit youth center for the past 6 years. With her expertise in grant writing, Bethany has raised over $1 million for programming that benefits at-risk youth. The happy mother of 4 young children, Bethany juggles her writing from home with spending time with her family. If her hours of research for her TSN blog articles have taught her one thing, it is to be an involved parent who takes time to listen to her kids.