Archive for November, 2010

Statement: [CR] Applauds Government Warnings on Caffeinated Alcoholic Drinks

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Choose Responsibility applauds the warnings issued Nov. 17 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to four makers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages. Caffeinated alcoholic beverages pose an emerging threat to public health, and are associated with binge drinking and alcohol-related injuries. Choose Responsibility commends the FDA and the FTC for their swift action on this issue of public concern.

“The choice of responsibility works both ways,” said Barrett Seaman, President of Choose Responsibility. “We hope and expect young people to handle alcohol responsibly, but we also expect the alcohol beverage industry to police itself—both in its advertising and promotional materials and in its choice of products. Mixing caffeine and alcohol is a poor choice.”

The FDA’s action follows a November 2009 request to manufacturers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages to provide data on the safety of their products. After conducting an independent analysis of peer-reviewed literature, the FDA found that caffeinated alcoholic beverages do not meet the generally accepted standard of safety. Instead, caffeine is an “unsafe food additive” associated with “risky behaviors that may lead to hazardous and life-threatening situations” when mixed with alcohol.

The FTC letters warned that the makers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages may be violating industry standards of truth in their advertising campaigns. Both organizations have instructed the makers of these beverages to outline the steps they have taken to comply within 15 days.

Choose Responsibility applauds these warnings, and looks forward to more opportunities to collaborate with legislators and public health officials to promote a culture of responsible and safe alcohol consumption.

Choose Responsibility is a nonprofit organization founded to stimulate informed and dispassionate public discussion about the presence of alcohol in American culture and to consider policies that will effectively empower young adults age 18 to 20 to make mature decisions about the place of alcohol in their own lives. To learn more, visit www.chooseresponsibility.org.

NPR: Colleges Restrict High-Alcohol Energy Drinks

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Colleges across the country are restricting access to Four Loko and other high-alcohol energy drinks, according to Scott Hensley of NPR. After a recent concert at the University of Rhode Island, 30 people were hospitalized for alcohol-related problems. Hensley reported that “no alcohol was available at the arena, but students apparently got hammered ahead of time.” URI banned the drink as a result.

The news comes on the heels of our recent blog item outlining similar problems at Central Washington University. At Kansas State University, the Collegian reported a spike in sales of caffeinated alcoholic drinks.

For an in-depth take on the issue, check out Peter Schworm’s story in the Boston Globe on November 2. Check out both reports and let us know what you think in the comments.