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The New York Times this morning reports that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected this week to weigh in on the subject of pre-mixed alcohol-and-caffeine drinks such as Four Loko, which have received a lot of bad publicity in recent days after young people got seriously ill or even died after consuming them.

A number of states have already banned the drinks, and the FDA is likely to issue some sort of opinion as soon as tomorrow.

According to the Times, “The agency declined to say what it would do, but several food safety lawyers who once worked for it said a likely option was to use warning letters to inform manufacturers that the drinks were adulterated and, therefore, not safe ... Although there is little research on the effects of mixing caffeine and alcohol, several studies have suggested that people get more intoxicated and engage in riskier behavior when they drink the combination beverages than when they drink alcohol alone. Caffeine masks the effects of alcohol, doctors say, tricking users into believing they can keep drinking well past the point of drunkenness.”

The story goes on, “Phusion Projects, which makes Four Loko, has said that drinking premixed alcohol and caffeine is no different from drinking a few glasses of wine with dinner and having coffee afterward. But Dr. Mary Claire O’Brien, a professor of emergency medicine at Wake Forest University, warned the F.D.A. last year that the combination was dangerous. Dr. O’Brien said that ingesting both substances at the same time had a much more potent effect than either one by itself.”
KC's View:
The sad truth, of course, is that sometimes we as parents cannot protect our kids from themselves and their own bad decision-making.

The Times also notes that “in recent days, amid reports of young people stockpiling the drink in anticipation of its being banned, a new Facebook tribute page, called R.I.P. Four Loko, has been created. As of Monday night, the page had 8,500 friends.

“One person posted a picture of about 20 stacked Four Loko cans and the words ‘Stock up’.”