Caution! New Energy Drink is called "Blackout in a Can"

  • Published
  • By Melanie Moore
  • 79 MDW PA
Four Loko is a new beverage that Airmen should watch out for. The FDA is investigating the safety of Four Loko and is threatening to ban the product.

"We have seen a few cases that have caused us to be concerned. Drinking one can of Four Loko is the same as drinking a 6 pack of beer and 2 cups of coffee," said Sue Scheddel, 779th Medical Group ADAPT Program Manager.

"The drink is sweet and people tend to drink it like a soda. They also tend to drink it too fast and are not aware how it will affect them. Some people have blacked out or passed out after drinking Four Loko, which is why it has been compared to a date rape drug. Some individuals have gone to the Emergency Room with a breathalyzer of up to .40, which is five times the legal intoxication level of .08," said Ms. Scheddel.

"Caffeinated beverages in general are not necessarily bad for health. However, when mixed with alcohol, caffeine causes people to misjudge the impact that the alcohol is having on them. There is not a lot of medical data that clearly demonstrates the effects of mixing caffeine with alcohol and each individual may react in a different way. In addition, medications an individual might be taking as well as active medical or mental health conditions may affect the way a person responds to alcohol, caffeine, or a mixture of the two. If you're going to drink beverages containing alcohol and caffeine, it's important to understand that the effects vary from person to person and the combination may cause unpredictable, and possibly life-threatening side effects." said Major (Dr.) Joshua Morganstein, Chief of Addictions Services at the 779th Medical Group.

The drink is made by Phusion Projects, a Chicago based company, and is marketed for a twenty something crowd who enjoy consuming energy drinks. It comes in a 23.5 oz can, is 12 percent alcohol and contains 660 calories. The four main ingredients of Four Loko are caffeine, taurine, guarana and alcohol. The product is available in nine flavors.

Phusion Projects has agreed to change the formula in an effort to overt this ban. They said on their web site, "We will be removing the stimulants from its Four Loko product........By taking this action today, we are again demonstrating leadership, cooperation and responsible corporate citizenship."