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Adiós, Four Loko

Ohio bans distribution of beverage

Gillian Seaman

Issue date: 11/19/10 Section: News
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CWRU EMS member Kathryn Goldberg noted that Four Loko appeared to be a popular drink on campus and agreed with Begley's comments about its dangers. "I think energy drinks with an ABV [alcohol by volume] are a pretty bad idea" she said. "Students do not get sleepy from the alcohol, and can stay awake to keep drinking far past their limit and increase their chances of alcohol poisoning."

As of press time, state agencies in Michigan, Washington, Utah, Oklahoma, and Ohio had all either banned the drink or severely curtailed its availability due to its perceived dangers. The bans do not seem unwarranted. In a highly publicized incident in Washington, nine students affiliated with Central Washington University were hospitalized with blood alcohol levels ranging from .12 percent to .35 percent.

For Begley, a key factor in avoiding such instances is education about the consequences of mixing caffeine and alcohol. "If it's out there, we need to be honest and open about it. We talk about the effects of hard liquor versus beer versus wine. It's time to insert a new category into that as well," said Begley.

From a purely economic standpoint, it's easy to see why Four Loko attracts so many college students. It contains as much alcohol as six beers. If a can of Four Loko costs $2.50 and a six-pack averages $5 or $6, the choice is obvious. Part of the allure also lies in the sheer power of the drink. "Anyone is almost certain to get drunk after drinking just one Four Loko. It is a quick way to consume large amounts of alcohol and its taste is not overly repulsive," explained CWRU law student Scott Lippert.

Four Loko is not the first of its kind to hit the market, however. A notable predecessor is Sparks. Introduced in 2002, Sparks was subject to similar scrutiny regarding its mixture of caffeine, guarana, ginseng, and taurine along with alcohol. In 2008, MillerCoors LLC announced that it would remove the caffeine from Sparks after receiving requests from California and 13 other states.

While Four Loko in its present incarnation may not be around much longer, Begley noted that students have and will presumably continue to mix caffeinated drinks with alcohol, and it is important that students beaware of the consequences. "You need to know what you're putting in your body. If you don't have an understanding of what you're really doing, you probably shouldn't be doing it."
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Issue Summary


  • A conversation with Divya Aggarwal
  • Adiós, Four Loko
  • Faculty Forum addresses questions surrounding core curriculum
  • International student programs make strides, issues remain
  • USG Brief


  • Football thumps Tartans on senior day, win Academic Bowl
  • Men drown competition, win Veale classic; women split
  • Men seeded second in UAA, eye historic season
  • Spartan women third, men seventh at NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional
  • Spartans drop first dual meet against Baldwin-Wallace
  • Volleyball returns home from their first NCAA Championship satisfied and yearning for more
  • Women to improve winning season, sixth-place finish


  • Editorial: Unwilling to think beyond the possible
  • Leading by examples: bullying starts - and ends - with parents
  • Letter to the Editor
  • Whores no more: the case for legalizing prostitution


  • Atlantic/Pacific
  • CARES hosts vegan feast, panel in hopes of debunking myths, addressing concerns
  • Documentary Inside Job a frightening account of current financial crisis
  • Gold Motel speaks on album, artistic processes
  • Music department caps semester with variety of concerts
  • Pizza! Pizza!
  • Sigma Psi to create "magic" with 32nd Mr. CWRU
  • Students blur gender lines in eighth annual Drag Ball
  • The rules of attraction
  • Who's wearing the pants?
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