Four Loko: The controversial party beverage that leaves you "wide awake drunk"

The concerning belief that the drink is too popular amongst teenagers (under 21) mirrors Bruce Goldberger’s, director of toxicology at the University of Florida College of Medicine, opinion:  "It is popular among young folks. The marketing and packaging has so much to do with it." The can design alone makes it difficult to identify it as an alcoholic beverage. And with new campaigning flavors like Lemons Gone Loko, for about $2.50 a can, young adults exceedingly find the beverage the new hit.  Four Loko even has over 75,000 Facebook fans with a fan page description of:

“12% alcohol with the fruity taste of your choice. WARNING: you will remember absolutely nothing in the morning, probably acted like a slut, and possibly tried to fight someone. It's a four loko thing.”

The page features Four Loko music videos, fans' personal party photos, and blackout testimonials from first time users. What appears to be a guaranteed nauseated experience in a can, is commonly viewed as the newest dare by young adults.

But not everyone is rejoicing with drunken giddiness over Four Loko, MSNBC has released several articles linking Four Loko as the blame for student illness. The reports claim 9 Central Washington University students were hospitalized from an off-campus party where Four Loko cans were present.  All students that were hospitalized were underage (ranging from 17-19) and inexperienced drinkers.[image-1]

"It's time to bring an end to the sale of alcoholic energy drinks," Attorney General Rob McKenna said, “They’re marketed to kids by using fruit flavors that mask the taste of alcohol, and they have such high levels of stimulants that people have no idea how inebriated they really are."

Along with CWU, Four Loko has gone under scrutiny from New Jersey's Ramapo College where 23 students were hospitalized over a span of a few weeks. New York has reportedly had 4 students hospitalized as well.

So the ultimate consensus for this 28.2 ounces of alcohol and 156 milligrams of caffeinated drink is that it is dangerous. But depending on specific audiences, the appeal to danger can be viewed as an added reason to experiment or a reason for a widespread ban.

For more information on Four Loko and to see the Company's defense in the above health claims, visit:

Pictures from and

There is no mystery in the popularity of energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster. The caffeine content, alongside added sugar, will heighten awareness in most individuals for an extended amount of time. Young adults are particularly interested in energy drinks, especially high school and college students. But what about energy drinks with alcohol? More specifically, a 23.5-ounce can containing 12% alcohol?

Four Loko is a high-alcohol, high-caffeine beverage. Many have claimed the drink as a toxic cocktail. ABC Health News found that one 23.5 ounce can of Four Loko contains as much alcohol content as six cans of Bud Light beer, and contains more than an 8 ounce cup of coffee equivalence in caffeine.

But what are the effects of mixing caffeine and alcohol? Probably a quick way to get drunk without the luxury to sleep it off. Mixing a depressant like alcohol with a caffeine stimulant puts the body in a confused state. Doctor Mary Claire O’Brien of Wake Forest University says people who drink Four Loko, “can’t tell that they’re drunk; what this behavior gets is a wide awake drunk.” Caffeine essentially fights off alcohol’s affects of lethargy and loss of clear thought. What happens as a result is your body doesn’t think you’re nearly has drunk as you are. End result: consuming more alcoholic drinks.


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