I'll be completely honest: old codger that I must be, up until about a month ago, I had never heard of Four Loko. JoePa came back from a weekend with his buddies from home on a Monday morning, complaining about the hungover he still had after doing three (or was it six?) Four Loko Dizzy Bats on the Saturday. I'm now finally realizing why he was so beat up 48 hours later. A Four Loko contains the alcohol of a six pack of beer and the caffeine of several cups of coffee. Dizzy Batting that stuff probably doesn't make you feel so hot.
And now, after dozens of students at Central Washington University became seriously ill because of the drink (their BACs ranged between .12 and .335), there are new calls for a ban on Four Loko and its cousin, Joose. And it might just happen.
In response to the incident at Central Washington, the makers of Four Loko told ABC News, "The unacceptable incident at Central Washington University, which appears to have involved hard liquor ... and possibly illicit substances, is precisely why we go to great lengths to ensure our products are not sold to underage consumers and are not abused." Toxicology tests have ruled out drugs played a factor.
One student at the party in question told ABC News: "These people were still fighting for consciousness almost. And their eyes were rolling back to their head and I've just never seen anything like that." It's no wonder some people call it "Blackout in a Can."
It seems that the federal authorities are taking notice. The FDA is exploring the practice of putting caffeine into alcohol; although it would take a while for these types of products to be pulled off the shelves, it's something they're looking into. The Four Loko makers counter that their drinks are no worse than a vodka and Red Bull or "drinking coffee after a meal with a couple glasses of wine."
Apparently professors and campus police are now also trying to wise up to the design of the cans of Four Loko and Joose. Because the cans look so much like Monster Energy Drinks and their ilk, most profs don't realize that students are half-way to drunk town 45 minutes into their lectures.
Ultimately, I think the whole caffeine-plus-alcohol trend is getting tired, although I understand the appeal and don't think a ban is necessary (or ever going to happen). The one thing I will say to all you Bros out there is to make sure you're not driving after you've been drinking Four Loko or Joose. You might feel more awake because of the caffeine, but that doesn't mean you're any less drunk. Don't drink and drive on this stuff. Just stick to the Dizzy Batting, O.K.?
Sound Off with your thoughts about Four Loko and Joose in the comments. Do you drink the stuff? Do you think its dangerous and should be banned? Let us know!