The makers of Four Loko, the so-called “blackout in a can,” have been under siege for the past several months, after the hospitalizations and deaths of college students who drank Four Loko became public this fall. In November, right after New York State banned the sale of Four Loko, the makers of the caffeinated alcoholic beverage announced that they would remove caffeine from the ingredient list. Even without caffeine, Four Loko is dangerous; one can contains the alcohol equivalent of three cans of beer. The sale of Four Loko has been banned in 13 states.
Which is probably why the LA Times is focusing on the presence of a can of Four Loko at a crime scene in Huntington Beach, where 15-year-old Aaron Saenz and 16-year-old Chelsea Taylor were found dead Friday “with an empty can of an alcoholic energy drink and traces of drug and alcohol use.” As of this morning, police were still looking for answers in this tragic case. ”We’re trying to determine if there was anyone with them that evening, how they obtained the alcohol and what kind of drugs they might have used,” Lt. Russell Reinhart said.
Police believe there was no foul play involved in the deaths of these teens, rather that they accidentally overdosed. According to the LA Times, “Autopsies were conducted on the teens Monday but the cause of their deaths remained under investigation.” The teens’ consumption of Four Loko is clearly not the only cause of death in this case, but this incident will likely put Four Loko under scrutiny from lawmakers once again. Phusion Projects, the makers of Four Loko, have devoted an entire section of their website to responsible drinking, and maintain that they “have a vested interest in the safe and responsible consumption of (their) products by adults of legal drinking age.” The have pledged to “market (their) products only to adults 21 and over” and say, “If you’re under 21, respect the law and don’t drink.”
The sale of Four Loko is not prohibited in California. What do you think? Should Four Loko should be banned nationwide?