Four Loko Alcoholic Energy Drinks: College Student Blackout Binge Drinking
Four Loko is a beverage that is being marketed around the country as an alcoholic energy drink. Even if you set aside the contradictory effects of consuming a depressant laced with a stimulant for a moment, this is still one of the most foolish drinks to be conceived. Containing caffeine, guarana and heavy amounts of sugar, this potent concoction boasts an alcohol percentage of 12. This is roughly the amount of five cans of beer. The use of this beverage could potentially lead to demise and perhaps alcohol addiction or drug addiction down the road.
On campuses across the country, students are downing this alcoholic energy drink at a startling pace. Adding to the problem is the fact that a 24 ounce can of Four Loko goes for about two bucks. In a college student’s mind, high alcohol content, plus high energy boost, plus less money spent equals the perfect combination. To a rational human being who possesses even the slightest understanding of how the body works to absorb such ingredients, Four Loko equals poison.
As the popularity of the beverage increases with young people, so too are the admissions to poison control centers in relation to individuals who have consumed too much of the drink. It is important that we begin to convey this message through substance abuse counseling to students across the country. There is actually a website dedicated to student’s experiences with Four Loko. After reading a few of the submissions, my jaw was on the floor. Kids readily describe blacking out and engaging in wildly unsafe adventurous with fervor and glee.
Epic Black Outs
One story on the website, written by a young women, told the tale of how after drinking two of these beverages, she wound up 1,500 miles away from her school. She had also suffered a severely broken ankle. You think such an ordeal would cause an individual to give up drinking all together. However, she concluded her tale by saying how “epic” the night was, and how she cannot wait to drink Four Loko again.
The feeling of invincibility is promoted through movies and television in our culture more and more today. We see binge drinking by young people, even high school students, on a regular basis in our media. Often times it is portrayed as comedic, as in the case of such popular movies like “Superbad”, “The Hangover”, and “Project X”. While these are undoubtedly funny films, young people have a difficult time distinguishing between reality and fiction. They do not see the likely consequences, both physical and emotional, that such activities have in the real world.
Thankfully, many states are now banning the sale of Four Loko near college campuses. However, many students have no problem whatsoever driving a couple extra miles to get their Four Loko fix. More pressure needs to be put on retailers to get this beverage off of the shelves so that our young people are not as easily tempted to partake in it. Also, research on the negative effects of the drink need to be made more public so that people know exactly what they are putting in their bodies when the drink Four Loko.