In case you were thinking about grabbing a sixer of Four Loko this weekend, this story out of Huntington Beach, California may give you pause. Two teenagers were found dead in an apartment with a can of Four Loko, and evidence of other drinking, beside them. Fifteen-year-old Aaron Saenz and 16-year-old Chelsea Taylor were found sprawled on the floor, and initial tests also showed traces of drug use.
While one can of Four Loko may not be to blame for the deaths of two teens, one can of Four Loko can certainly get someone to the point of black-out, which caused 13 states to ban the energy/alcoholic drink. With a high alcohol and caffeine content, it's a dangerous mix, especially in younger people who are just exploring their limits.
So why is Four Loko worse than, say, a fifth of vodka?
Drinking one Four Loko is about the equivalent to drinking four beers. And that one can of Four Loko goes down really easily. In spite of the ban, Four Loko can still be found. As it was when a friend brought a can to our house, and we tried it. It tasted like grape soda, with no trace of alcohol at all. A kid could down one can in no time, and be out of the control to the point of danger the next.
The high concentration of alcohol coupled with a tasty soda is a recipe for disaster with kids. While three adults shared one Four Loko at my house (out of curiosity), one teenager could throw it back and not know what hit him.
Marketing sweet-tasting, high-alcohol beverages to kids is a bad idea. And whether or not Four Loko is to blame in yet another death, it won't be the last time an alcoholic beverage such as this causes such devastation. You can't market cigarettes to kids anymore, so why Four Loko?
Image via aaroninthe360/Flickr