Ramapo College Bans Energy Drinks

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Ramapo College of New Jersey is forbidding students from consuming popular energy drinks, the beverage of choice for students who study into the early hours of the morning or for people wanting a cheap, but legal buzz. The ban comes after the school reports that 23 people were hospitalized for alcohol intoxication at the beginning of the fall semester. The issue of teenage alcoholism has become more complicated with the advent of energy drinks that have alcohol content being sold openly to teenagers.

Four Loko

Energy drinks are popular with college students.

One of the drinks included in the ban is Four Loko, an energy beverage containing 12 percent alcohol. The company behind the drink, Drink Four, describes its product as a premium caffeinated alcoholic beverage and restricts the drink to people who are 21 and older. However, Four Loko is available at area convenience stores including at least one in nearby Suffern, New York.

Students may have trouble getting the drink legally in New Jersey, but a short drive up Ramapo Valley Road (Route 202) into neighboring Suffern can put students within reach of these cold, fruity liquid energy enhancements. New York law forbids selling alcohol to people under the age of 21, but that isn’t stopping some shop owners from making high alcohol energy drinks available to students.

Mahwah Students

Ramapo College is in Mahwah, New Jersey, and that town’s police chief James N. Batelli, says that Four Loko is being used by younger students. Three Mahwah High School students had complaints filed against them after being found in possession of or intoxicated by Four Loko.

The drink comes in a 23.5 ounce can and is available in nine fruity, carbonated flavors including cranberry lemonade, lemon lime, blue raspberry and orange blend. Retailing for less than $3 each, Four Loko has an alcohol equivalent of consuming as many as four cans of beer.

Blacked Out

High alcohol energy drinks are apparently behind a rash of blackouts and incidents of violence taking place across the country. In Chester, Pennsylvania, the drinks are believed to be contributing to gang violence, further undermining a community long beseiged by crime. Writing for the Daily Times of Chester, Pennsylvania, Timothy Logue reported that one convenience store in the area was selling these drinks in the soda area. Packaged in bright, appealing cans Four Loko looks like a huge can of soda or Arizona ice tea.

Kids are calling Four Loko “liquid cocaine” and are consuming them like any nonalcoholic beverage, leading to blackouts from over consumption. Attorney generals in several states are looking at the problem although statewide bans do not appear to be part of the solution, at least right now.

Fan Buzz

And what do young people think of Four Loko? Some love it. More than 21,000 fans have joined the Four Loko Facebook fan site since it was launched in January 2010. No surprise there — the drink was developed by three Ohio State University students.

See Also — The Ramapo News:  Four Loko: Worth the Controversy? (page two)

Photo Credit: Jaime Gil

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Categories: Campus News