Going Loko? Alcoholic energy drink deemed unsafe

By Alan Campbell

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - One alcoholic energy drink served right here in the Lowcountry has been deemed unsafe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is banned in several states.

Four Loko has been dubbed by critics as "black-out in a can," and has street names like "crack in a can" and "liquid cocaine." The drink is a dangerous mix of 12 percent alcohol and caffeine.  Despite its lethal nicknames it is still popular in the Lowcountry.

Christian Sloan said she has tried Four Loko and more people drink it then you think.

"People drink it a lot everywhere, it tastes like beer to me, it's really nasty," Sloan said.

Just one can contains the caffeine of four cans of soda and the alcohol of four to five beers. The F.D.A believes the caffeine in the drink masks the feeling of intoxication and leads to risky behavior.

Not only has it been banned in some states, but also on some college campuses after students became sick. It has been blamed for deadly car accidents, and parents of one college student say the drink played a role in their son's accidental shooting death.

Louis Belis drinks Four Loko and says it has some serious side effects.

"It's really strong, really strong. Sometimes it makes me dizzy, sometimes I can't go to sleep," Belis said.

Krystin Wright says anything that makes you sick, shouldn't be for sale.

"It shouldn't be on the market if it's getting everyone sick, it should be a lot safer," Wright said.

The drink's maker, Phusion Projects, has said it will try to reformulate the drink to remove the caffeine, taurine and guarana. One 23.5 ounce can of Four Loko sells for $3 and some stores are selling two cans for $5.

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