FDA: caffeinated alcohol drinks are unsafe - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

FDA: caffeinated alcohol drinks are unsafe

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –The FDA says those caffeinated alcohol beverages are dangerous.The government says if the makers don't change the formulas, they'll have to stop selling them.

From the outside it looks like just another energy drink, "It tastes like a Monster energy drink, you can taste a little bite of alcohol but its almost covered completely," said J.J Prince.

But on the inside, this 23.5 ounce can contains as much alcohol as four cans of beer and about as much caffeine as a couple cups of coffee. "I drank three of them in an hour and a half because they taste so good you just want to drink them that fast, but I wasn't ready for it at all." he said.

Experts say the combination of alcohol and caffeine can mask the effects of alcohol and leave drinkers unaware of just how drunk they really are.

Prince says he found out the hard way just how powerful these drinks really are. "I don't really remember anything because it gets you that kind of blackout drunk," said Prince.

This week, the Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters to the makers of those drinks calling them "unsafe", and gave makers 15 days to change the formula or they will be yanked off the shelf.

But despite the health warnings, these drinks are becoming more popular everyday at the BP station on Slappey. Michael Grier says they sell almost forty cans a day. "We sold a few of them already this morning," he said.

He says the fruity flavors, and reasonable prices leave people coming back for more. "Most of the time they buy them one at a time but I often see them come back the same day and buy another one," he said.

But Prince warns those wanting to try the drink to listen to the experts, "Stay away, don't do it, it is a bad road to go down," he said.

Because the experience is not worth it in the end.

The maker of one of those drinks, Four Loko, announced yesterday that it will remove the caffeine and other energy boosters from the formula. The company's founders say they believe the mix is safe, but that they are up against a 'politically charged regulatory environment'. The makers of Joose also announced they are also taking caffeine, taurine and ginseng out of the formula.

Those drinks are already banned in New York, Washington, Utah, Michigan and Oklahoma.

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