Caffeinated Alcoholic Drinks a Dangerous Combination


The New York Times (10/27, A12, Goodnough) reports beverages containing alcohol and caffeine, especially “a brand called Four Loko,” are drawing “scrutiny after students who drank it this fall at Ramapo College in New Jersey and Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash., ended up in emergency rooms, some with high levels of alcohol poisoning.” Physicians say “the drinks are dangerous” as “the caffeine masks the effects of the alcohol, keeping consumers from realizing just how intoxicated they are.”
The alcohol content of these beverages can be extremely high. According to a report on ABC News “The 23 -ounce can of fruity malt liquor [Four Loko] sold in Washington and many other states packs 12% alcohol, the equivalent of drinking four or more beers and a cup of strong coffee. Clearly it can add up very quickly. The same report indicates that more than 50 students had become ill at a party and that the blood-alcohol content of students ranged from .12 percent to .335 percent, a level that can easily cause alcohol poisoning.


Beyond the immediate health affects of consuming these beverages, there is of course the danger of driving under the influence. With the caffiene’s masking influence, young drivers can easily mistake their ability to operate a vehicle safely. As a note, if you’re going to party this coming weekend, remember that it’s Halloween, one of the most dangerous holidays for auto accidents. Help to keep the ghosts and goblins safe this weekend by driving responsibly.