Do you know someone who drinks Four Loko?

Posted on November 5, 2010

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Many people have heard of this beverage in the media recently.  Many college students have been quoted as saying it’s a cheap and fast way to get drunk. 

Four Loko is a flavored caffeinated “energy” alcoholic beverage that is sold in the US in a 23.5 oz can.  Its alcohol content is 12%, which is much higher than beer (ranging from 3-5%). 1 can of Four Loko is equivalent to about 6 drinks. If a 180 lb male drank 1 can in 1 hour, his blood alcohol level would be .11, for a 130 lb female it would be .19. The legal driving limit in MA is .08, if you are under 21 it is .02! 

Four Loko also contains a lot of caffeine. Because of the high caffeine content – it can mask how intoxicated you really are and allow you to continue to drink more than usual. High levels of caffeine can boost heart rate and blood pressure, causing palpitations, according to the National Institute of Health. Mixing caffeine and other ingredients found in energy drinks with alcohol further increases the risk of heart rhythm problems. Energy drinks have a lot of stimulants in them while alcohol is a depressant so by mixing the two you’re sending mixed messages to your nervous system which can cause cardiac related problems.

A study performed by Mary Claire O’Brien (Wake Forest University), who is a professor of emergency medicine and public health, showed that consuming alcohol with caffeine was more harmful than drinking alcohol alone. Those who consumed both were at least two times as likely — compared to those drinking alcohol without caffeine — to be hurt, need medical attention, take sexual advantage of another, or accept a ride with someone who was inebriated.

For more information about Four Loko:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/video/addiction-experts-concerned-about-four-loko-drink-11919626

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/16/ramapo-college-bans-four-_n_765268.html

For information on College drinking:

http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/

http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/

http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/

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