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‘Alco-Pop’ May Be Harmful To Your Health

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(Credit: AP)

(Credit: AP)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — There’s a nationwide push to get the FDA to ban highly caffeinated, but legal, alcoholic drinks.

Psychiatrist, Addiction Expert Dr. Joseph Haraszti Talks To KFWB

These come under several different brand names and pack a 12-percent alcohol content, roughly equivalent to three beers. One brand, “Four Loko” has already been banned on some college campuses.

Your typical college kegger isn’t so typical anymore. Traditional beer is being replaced with drinks where booze is infused with caffeine, and the effects can be deadly.

For instance, “Four Loko,” is responsible for sickening dozens of students at a party in Washington. Nine of them had to be hospitalized.

It has already been banned on some college campuses, but many Southland students still have the green light.

It’s called “blackout in a can”. Alco–pop. Another version of the date rape drug. The all–nighter. Morningside College student, Matt Mayfield, says, “You could buy one and probably be feeling pretty good the rest of the night.”

Marketed under the name “Four Loko,” health experts say this mixture of alcohol and caffeine is no energy drink.

“The amount of alcohol, roughly 12 percent, could be a little over three beers worth of alcohol and then the caffeine amount in there is equal to approximately a can of Red Bull plus a shot of espresso,” Linda Kalin of the Iowa Statewide Poison Center says.

Despite the high and the buzz it may provide, Mayfield says there is another reason it’s become popular.

He adds, “Because it’s so cheap. You can get like two of them for $4 and that’s like buying a 12 pack and it actually tastes better than regular beer.”

The can may be cheap, but the result? A high price to pay. The caffeine content can actually mask and delay the alcohol’s effect. Kalin says if kids overdo it on these “alco–pops,” they might not know it… until it’s too late.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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