|Four Loko is a New Drink - and a Disturbing One at That|
Ed Schwartz - PVNN
October 28, 2010
Four Loko, which hit the market a few years ago, tastes like soda, but it hits like a hammer, thanks to its 11% alcohol level. It also contains lot of sugar, caffeine, and two energy supplements that are causing the worst kind of drunkenness, especially among teen age kids.
Drinking it causes some mighty unpleasant effects, including blacking out, horrible headaches and very serious regrets. With the combination of caffeine and alcohol, it is not surprising.
Since Four Loko is so easy to drink, it is not uncommon that one could down four of these babies in a couple of hours or less. This would be the equivalent of 12 beers. It is often found in the "soft drink" section, but, of course, that isn't the real issue.
Makers of this drink that comes in a variety of fruit flavors like orange, watermelon, and blue raspberry, defend themselves by saying that if kids didn't drink this, they would drink something else, and that is certainly a nimble line of reasoning, however morally flawed.
The problem is that the caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. This tricky combination makes one think he or she is more sober than they really are. When the caffeine wears off, the alcohol hits like a ton of bricks. Many people have been hospitalized after binging on this elixir. Many have called it the "blackout" drink, or worse.
The question about Four Loko is how authorities can ban this drink. Try as they might, the drink is legal. But, legal can turn to lethal when consumed in irrational amounts. Of course, if teen-agers didn't get bombed on Four Loko, they would get bombed on something else. The possibilities are endless. That, to me, is not a good enough reason to make a product like this. For the moment, let the drinker beware. Personally, I feel regret for the people who drink it and the people who make it.
Ed Schwartz has been involved in many aspects of fine wine for 30 years and has worked with top wineries in California, Italy and France. His writings on wine, food and travel have appeared in the SF Chronicle, LA Times and Image magazine.
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