Four Loko Is Not the Problem -- We Are!


Four LokoThere's something missing in the recent hubbub over whether the caffeinated alcoholic beverage Four Loko should be banned from existence -- and it goes beyond the fact that underage kids shouldn't be drinking alcohol in the first place, of any brand.

It's these two words: personal responsibility.

This is a concept that is extremely foreign to college students, but also to many, ahem, adults, as well. But for some reason, all the focus has been on the drink and what it's made out of and how bad it is for you and how it's putting people at risk when ... hello, people? Isn't this blatantly obvious?

Anything that's abused is dangerous. Even water. Gonna ban that too?

It's always disconcerting to hear stories like the one at the party in Washington where several underage students were discovered passed out all over the home where the festivities had been had. Nine were hospitalized.

Initially, drugs were suspected, but further investigation shows that Four Loko may be to blame. Known as "blackout in a can," the carbonated beverage contains 12 percent alcohol. But it's really just a combination of stuff that's already out there that people drink every day. Since the party, there have been numerous calls for a ban on the soda, and a federal investigation into caffeinated alcoholic beverages in general has been launched.

Proponents of a ban say the caffeine peps individuals up too much and makes them drink more alcohol and engage in more risky behavior. The reactionary emotions are understandable, but what's next? Should we ban rum and cokes?

Everclear and Mountain Dew? Coffee and Kahlua? Chardonnay with a side of Diet Coke (my personal favorite)?

People have been offsetting the sleepiness alcohol induces with a kick of caffeine for ages. Four Loko just makes it easier.

"Our products contain less alcohol than an average rum and cola, less alcohol and caffeine than an average Red Bull and vodka, and are comparable to having coffee after a meal with a couple glasses of wine," says Phusion, maker of Four Loko.

Ramapo College has already banned the drink on its campus.

"There's no redeeming social purpose to be served by having the beverage," President Peter Mercer told The Associated Press.

And no, there really isn't, but is there a redeeming social purpose for cigarettes or Whoppers or alcohol in general if abused? We can't ban everything -- people have to take personal responsibility for their choices at some point.

Otherwise, we're in a sense saying everything that isn't banned isn't dangerous. While alcohol poisoning is a serious, dangerous business, it's not going to go away just because you ban these beverages.

If colleges want to try and keep it from their campuses, fine. It will likely make it that much more desirable, but it's understandable they would feel the need to do something in the wake of such tragic headlines. Parents teaching children about responsible drinking would be better.

But beyond the college campus, we live in a free, capitalist society that holds dear individual freedom of choice in pretty much every other aspect of our lives. An outright ban on these beverages would be just another excuse for Americans to excuse themselves of personal responsibility when it comes to what they consume.

Do you think Four Loko should be banned?

Image via Phusion Projects

alcohol, bad habits, in the news


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Madel... MadelynMc

I'm curious as to whether the fact that it's in a can has anything to do with it. Like that kids (young adults) who are used to drinking beer and spark or whatever that has a lower alcohol content out of a can don't immediately realize how much alcohol is in the drink. I don't think it should be banned, though. Maybe they should just make the alcohol content more visible (it's actually pretty hard to find, tiny print and all).

Wheep... Wheepingchree

i do think it should be banned - caffeine & alcohol is not a safe chemical combination, it's an upper and a downer in one. that is not healthy for your heart. i have not had the drink, but my childless friends have. one friend in particular, i have seen down half abottleof whiskey & still be standing. two (which is not a lot to drink at all) four loko, tho, and he's toast. uppers& downers are bad together.


I've had it before and, though I've never done drugs, the effect that I felt seems like it would be comparable. Never drinking that stuff again!

lovin... loving_my_hero

I've had it, and personally, I love the stuff. But I only drink one at a time, IF I finish a whole one. I'm a "sipper," so I can easily tell when I've had too much of any type of alcohol, and I know my limits. I agree that parents should be more willing to talk to their children (especially college aged) about responsible drinking. It is something that my parents taught me, and I have greatly benefitted from. I have seen many of my friends whose parents have sheltered them from alcohol binge-drink, get sick, black out, and do completely ridiculous things. Alcohol makes me giggly, and thats where I stop. It all goes back to the parenting.

Lauren Parrott

i herd on the news that in Wa. they where adding more alcohol to the can's after a few sips.....why? why not just have an other when your done with your first. there is a real reson why some people wind up in the hospital for drinking too much and the rest of us just have night's we would rather did not happend.

Lauren Parrott

oh and if there not going to put a stop to red bull and shot's then it would be silly to end this and frankly thats messing with my free will to much.

Cassondra Monique

I wonder how many of those kids actually KNEW what they were drinking. The danger in a drink like this may be the lack of understanding as to what's in it.  

nonmember avatar Sarah

Oh they know darn well it's an energy alcoholic drink. But just because college kids abuse it doesn't mean it should be taken away from me. Are they going to take away jäger bombs too??

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