Is Palcohol The New Four Loko? Sen. Chuck Schumer Certainly Thinks So
Palcohol, a.k.a. powdered alcohol, has arrived, but it may go the way of Four Loko before you even have the chance to sneak the pocket-sized packets into your favorite music venue. Although the palcohol was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in April, it continues to be rife with controversy — mostly because the FDA then unapproved it. Plus, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) isn't much of a fan, either.
Palcohol is essentially your alcohol-of-choice — OK, just rum and vodka — in powder form. You can either add five ounces of a flavored beverage or cocktail mixer to instantly create your favorite drink, or just use water. According to the company's website, Palcohol is meant for those who are always on-the-go: Outdoorsy types, bikers, jet-setters or...medical personnel?
Medical Applications: We've had medical personnel contact us about using Palcohol as an antiseptic, especially in remote locations where weight and bulk make it difficult to transport supplies.
Sounds good, right? Well, Palcohol is having a tough time getting started. It's gotten a ton of bad PR from critics who believe it'll just make it easier for people to sneak their own booze into establishments, music festivals and the like. It also doesn't help that people think Palcohol is consumed by snorting. From the company's website:
We have seen comments about goofballs wanting to snort it. Don't do it! It is not a responsible or smart way to use the product. To take precautions against this action, we've added volume to the powder so it would take more than a half of a cup of powder to get the equivalent of one drink up your nose. You would feel a lot of pain for very little gain. Just use it the right way.
But it all might be too late. Government officials, unfortunately, don't share the same optimism for powdered alcohol. Just days after the FDA approved the product, a spokesperson for the agency sent a letter to The Associated Press admitting that the approval was an error.
Lawmakers around the country are also doing everything in the power to ensure that powdered alcohol never reachers liquor stores. Schumer, for example, recently urged the FDA to ban the product because it would become “the Kook-Aid of teen binge drinking.” Meanwhile, lawmakers in Minnesota are also considering outlawing the powdered substance, according to the company's Facebook page.
The tale of the embattled Palcohol sounds very similar to that of Four Loko, the notorious super-popular caffeinated-alcoholic drink that caused a cry in 2010 after it was discovered by high school and college students. At 23.5 ounces and 12 percent alcohol, Four Loko was surely enough to have a good night — and then some.
According to reports, underage college kids were having a little too much fun with the "blackout in a can." The sugary alcohol-caffeine hybrid even placed nine students at Central Washington University in the hospital.
After the Four Loko craze became public, states began banning the beverage, with Schumer again leading the case against the alcoholic energy drink in New York. In the meantime, the makers of Four Loko slightly modified the drink to include less caffeine. Eventually, public health won out, and the makers agreed last March to cease production of the beverage nationwide.
Will Palcohol go the way of Four Loko? The biggest thing they have in common is the one thing lawmakers also seem to hate: A quick, easy and cheap way to get drunk.
However, Palcohol may not be as dangerous as Four Loko: Although Palcohol will have a higher alcohol content, it's not mixing a stimulant with a barbiturate, which is known to cause extreme intoxication very quickly. So, it does have that going for it.