Four Loko facing a city ban?
A high-alcohol energy drink that is creating the wrong kind of buzz could find itself banned from New York City shelves.
Four Loko, which contains up to 12 percent alcohol and as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, was blamed this week for several students passing out at a party near Central Washington University. Police initially feared that a date-rape drug was responsible.
Earlier this month, the victim in the Bronx anti-gay attack was forced to drink 10 cans of Four Loko, police said.
Last month at Ramapo College in New Jersey, 23 students were hospitalized after reportedly drinking the fruit-flavored drink.
City Councilman James Sanders Jr., who led the charge in 2006 to ban a drink called Cocaine, said his office will consult with public-health experts about Four Loko’s safety and could introduce legislation to have it banned here.
“If this is dangerous, we’re going to go crazy about Four Loko,” Sanders said.
In July, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that he had asked the Food and Drug Administration to speed up research into mixing malt liquor with high-caffeine drinks. He also asked the Federal Trade Commission to probe Four Loko’s marketing, which he said he believes targets young people.
Phusion Projects, the company behind Four Loko, said police and toxicology reports in the Central Washington incident showed that other alcoholic beverages also were consumed by the partygoers.
The company added that it had conducted a study in response to an FDA inquiry that proved that mixing alcohol and caffeine is safe.
New Yorkers yesterday said Four Loko packs punch.
“My girlfriend drank it before,” said Peter Odin, 21, of Roosevelt Island. “She was freaking out, her heart was palpitating, she was jittering, shaking.”
“It’s a cheap way to have fun,” said Marina Lee, 21, of Chinatown. “I think people are blowing it out of proportion.”
Emma Diab contributed to this story.