Don’t ban fads, let them go Loko

By Our Stance

Published: Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, October 20, 2010

If it's quick and easy, then it must be good, right?

A new alcoholic energy drink is gaining popularity, but many are worried about possible harmful effects and one university has even gone as far as to ban the drink.

Four Loko — a drink that has been referred to as "legalized liquid cocaine" — is a ready-made drink that comes in brightly colored 23.5-ounce cans and is 12 percent alcohol by volume.

The drink has raised a red flag because it combines caffeine with the same amount of alcohol found in about three beers, creating the feeling of being "wide awake drunk."

The combination of alcohol and caffeine has been known to have some adverse side effects.

The problem with combining the two ingredients — one a stimulant and the other a depressant — is that although you will get drunk, you won't feel the effects in the same way.

You'll feel less intoxicated than you actually are, which some researchers believe may cause consumers to binge drink and potentially cause them to engage in risky behavior.

The caffeine content of a Four Loko is not listed on the can, but it is one of the four main ingredients listed.

Ramapo College in New Jersey has decided to ban alcoholic energy drinks because of the potentially dangerous mixture and 23 binge drinking-related incidents since the start of the semester.

"Our students tell me it's like drinking 4 beers, a can of red bull and a large espresso," the school's president, Peter Mercer, told ABC.

We think the university is making the wrong move. Students of the legal drinking age should be permitted to drink whatever alcoholic beverage they like, and it is their responsibility to educate themselves about what they're putting in their bodies.

Yes, the university also decided make its alcohol policy stricter and add more penalties, but Four Loko was entirely banned from campus.

As for the world outside Ramapo College, the drink is still legal, although the Food and Drug Administration has been investigating the beverage since November.

At this time, they are unsure if alcohol and caffeine is a safe combination for consumers, and they're also concerned that Four Loko and other alcoholic energy drinks may be marketing to consumers younger than 21.

Research is still underway, and the process to potentially outlaw the drink all together is supposed to be a lengthy one.

Whether that day will come is still up for debate, but since the drink is legal, no school should be able to ban it specifically, a sentiment that is echoed by the students.

"It isn't good. It's gonna kill all the fun here," Omar Alkhalili, a junior at Ramapo College, said of the ban. "I feel like people will hide it more. Maybe they won't be as inclined to tell people their friends are sick, which could be a bad thing."

Just like Silly Bandz or Twilight, the consumption of alcoholic energy drinks is a fad, and like all fads, it will eventually fade.

Until then, the university shouldn't ban students of age from engaging in a perfectly legal act, students should instead take the time to research the product to understand its effects and make sure they're drinking responsibly.

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