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Higher Ed in the News

Alcoholic energy drinks raise concerns on campuses

October 26, 2010

Students in New Jersey and Washington have been hospitalized because of the effects of alcoholic energy drinks. Two universities have banned the drinks from campus while the Food and Drug Administration reviews their safety.

Popular with college students, beverages such as Four Loko, contain caffeine, other common energy-drink ingredients, and as much alcohol as four beers.  Four Loko comes in several varieties, including fruit punch and blue raspberry. A 23.5-ounce can sells for about $2.50 and has an alcohol content of 12 percent according to the company's website.

Health advocates say the caffeine in the drinks can suspend the effects of alcohol consumption, allowing a person to consume more than usual. All of the students hospitalized in Washington were inexperienced drinkers ranging in age from 17 to 19.

"It gets you really drunk really fast and it gives you a lot of energy so you're not going to be laying down and sleeping," said 18-year-old Central Washington University freshman Hyatt Van Cotthem of Everett, Wash.

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