Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Adios, Four Loko

The government is no stranger to debates on overstepping its boundaries. This time, however, the government has drawn the ire of college students across the country for effectively banning the wildly popular alcoholic party favor Four Loko.

There is no question that drinks like Four Loko are dangerous. Commonly referred to as “blackout in a can,” the drink contains the equivalent of about five beers and one cup of coffee. The “wide-awake drunk” that it creates is caused by the alcohol-induced depressant of motor skills combined with a caffeine-packed energy boost. Four Loko drinkers are also more likely to consume even more alcohol because they are unaware of the amount already in their systems. In recent weeks, dozens of accidents and alcohol poisonings at various college campuses have been blamed on Four Loko consumption.

We understand the concern that caffeinated alcoholic beverages are more dangerous and may induce reckless behavior, yet the FDA has simply gone too far in trying to take them off the market. Caffeine-spiked alcohol is nothing new, after all.

Those college students guzzling Four Loko can make their own mixed versions: everything from Red Bull and vodka to Jagerbombs. What then makes Four Loko and the other drinks on the FDA’s warning list different?

Furthermore, the people buying Four Loko or any other alcoholic beverage are legally adults. By making the drinking age 21, the government clearly trusts those of a certain age to make adult decisions. Adults should be allowed and expected to act responsibly, which includes knowing their own personal limits.

Some have argued Four Loko is more dangerous than previous mixed drinks because it has a higher alcohol content or because it has resulted in so many recently publicized incidents. But how much alcohol is too much? Obviously drinking an entire handle of vodka or other hard liquors is also risky behavior, yet these bottles are still sold every day. Where is the line drawn?

Four Loko and drinks like it can be dangerous when not drunk responsibly, but the FDA should have allowed adults to make the decision themselves. If the FDA feels comfortable exercising its authority in this way, we are left wondering what popular indulgence might be targeted next.

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