Indiana lawmakers look to ban caffeinated alcohol drinks

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email


(FOX19)  - Indiana lawmakers are looking to ban so called Alcopops.

Some stores in the state have already started pulling them off the shelves voluntarily.The drink contains 12-percent alcohol, and critics say college students are guzzling them down at alarming rates.

The caffeinated alcohol drinks are flying out of local liquor stores. They have a range of nicknames.

University of Cincinnati freshman Brandon Cook said friends have called it one of the craziest things they've tried.

"'Rufies in a can' so that's not good," Cook said.

"The blackout drink," University of Cincinnati senior Carl Miller said. "That's the main one I've heard and it's true."

There are a couple of brands, such as Joose, but Four Loko is taking the most heat. And even if parents don't know what they are college students sure do.

Liz Bangs said she's never tried it, but some of her friends have tasted them.

"It's kind of a malt liquor," said Bangs. "It's like 12-percent, and they come in like fruit punch and lemonade flavors."

One can of Four Loko has the alcohol equivalent of four cans of beer and enough caffeine as a tall cup of Starbucks coffee.

"It gets you drunk pretty quick," said Miller.

"It's like they're drunk and caffeinated at the same time," said UC student Elizabeth DeBenedictas. "So kind of crazy."

It's also cheaper than a six-pack of beer.

"Yeah, it is pretty inexpensive," said UC senior Kyle Crowell. "But I think the difference is that you have one can so you drink it a lot faster than you would say four beers so then it gets in your system quicker."

The drink made national headlines last month when nine Central Washington University students were hospitalized after a night of binge drinking with the products.

Some colleges and universities have already banned the drinks. None here in the Tri-state. Members of the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers have asked the state to ban the alcopops. Some stores in Indiana have already stopped carrying them.

The FDA is looking into the issue.

Four Loko's manufacturer, Phusion Projects of Chicago, said it was quote "extremely disappointed" by the ban, adding it's drinks are "just as safe as any other alcoholic beverage" when used responsibly.

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