State bans Four Loko and other alcoholic energy drinks

November 10, 2010

By Staff

NEW — 12:55 p.m. Nov. 10, 2010

The state has banned “blackout in a can” caffeinated alcohol drinks.

Washington State Liquor Control Board members OK’d the emergency ban Wednesday, after nine underage Central Washington University students had to be hospitalized after consuming the alcoholic energy drink Four Loko.

The statewide ban takes effect Nov. 17 and remains in effect for 120 days as the state formulates a permanent ban.

State Attorney General Rob McKenna commended the Liquor Control Board for the decision.

“These drinks are heavily marketed to youth with fruity flavors and large quantities of stimulants to mask the high levels of alcohol,” he said in a statement. “This dangerous combination results in too many youth drinking way too much, way too fast — and waking up in local hospitals with alcohol poisoning. Known as ‘blackout in a can,’ these beverages present too many health risks to remain in the marketplace.”

In 2007, McKenna and fellow attorneys general spearheaded a nationwide effort to ban the beverages. The next year, the group asked the nation’s largest brewers — Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors — to remove stimulant-infused alcoholic beverages from the market. The companies agreed. The federal Food and Drug Administration could rule on alcoholic energy drinks soon.

Washington became the latest state to restrict the sale of the drinks in the last week, after Pennsylvania, Michigan and Oklahoma.

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