Point Counter-Point: 4 or against 4loko?

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Self-Control will overule

I’ll be the first to admit that it is a little difficult to defend Four Loko. This drink, within the last few weeks, has been under fire due to college students across the country abusing its effects. Is it dangerous? The FDA recently ruled it certainly is, and gave a 15 day warning to its manufacturers to make changes to the drink or risk a nationwide ban.

Now I’m not going to pretend that mixing alcohol and stimulants is necessarily a remotely intelligent decision – but rather than banning the drink altogether, I’m thinking we need to go back to another avenue: common sense. Something that many college students would, admittedly, say that they lack when drinking alcohol.

It’s no secret that the vast majority of students will experiment with alcohol in during their college years. And mixing energy drinks and alcohol is nothing new when you consider another popular drink of choice: the infamous Jagerbomb. So why all the fuss over Four Loko? Simple – it is much stronger than any other similar drink before it, and some students think it’s a smart decision to do “Four Loko challenges” and binge drink this little concoction.

I know that everyone understands the dangers of binge drinking and I’m not here to lecture anyone, but really, let’s try to be intelligent. Throwing the equivalent of a six pack of beer, some caffeine, taurine, and wormwood (an active ingredient in absinthe) into a beer bong and chugging it doesn’t really seem like a smart life choice in my book. Wonder why all those kids went to the hospital? Drinking mass quantities of this drink is dangerous – no matter how strong you claim your tolerance may be.

Now, after reviewing the risks, I still believe that banning this is not the answer. A simple Google search can easily turn up a recipe to “make your own Four Loko”. People will continue to drink this types of alcohol no matter what laws are in place – so that’s why I’m asking, let’s return to common sense.

If you cannot handle yourself under the influence of alcohol, you should not be drinking it. If you think it is a remotely good decision to chug Four Loko as you can, you should not be drinking. It’s as simple as that.

There are many other things on the market today that are just as dangerous – if not more – than Four Loko. Everclear, a brand of grain alcohol sold at many liquor stores – boasts a 95% alcohol content (in comparison – most rum and vodka is 40-60% alcohol content). Would you chug a bottle of this alcohol? Or at least use it in a mixed drink? I would hope not, yet it still remains legal.

Even common cold medicine has the ability to be abused, and has come under fire in some communities where it’s required the individual to be 18 to purchase them. I don’t feel like placing a ban on this drink will prevent stupid behavior from college students – rather than putting more laws in place, it’s time for us to crack down and enforce safe alcohol use and teach those students – once again – common sense.

A poison & a danger

The tendency to press send more easily as the night turns to morning, friends’ social habits, disgraced government officials, exes, law school, closing down bars and leaving tabs open, general debauchery and/or a common disgust for all the negativity surrounding the ‘sexting’ phenomenon have inspired Textsfromlastnight.com to launch its successful career onto the web. With a few cans of 4Loko, you can be a part of it.

One user submitted an ill-gotten text, saying, “Real friends wouldn’t let me shotgun a 4loko after already seeing me trying to eat a girl out through her jeans.” Of course, 4Loko and any alcoholic beverage can lead to a night of debauchery and blackouts, but it can quickly lead to more serious consequences.

According to the Washington Post, dozens of students at Central Washington University and Ramapo College in New Jersey, for example, recently were rushed to emergency rooms after consuming Four Loko, including some with alcohol poisoning and at least one near death. In other incidents, deaths and fatal car crashes have been blamed on the drinks. Recent studies have shown that with the confidence of caffeine, a less-than-sober person may feel that it’s okay to drive.

Four Loko has caffeine, malt liquor, guarana, taurine, plus sugar and artificial flavoring. This lethal concoction has been compared to drinking five cans of beer and a cup of coffee by the FDA, who has decided to crackdown on caffeinated alcoholic drinks.

Banning Four Loko is not going to stop students from figuring out how to combine energy drinks and alcohol on their own, likely in even more dangerous quantities and combinations. Perhaps this means that the issue at hand isn’t really the ban itself, but rather, the college culture that demands an intoxicated and wide-awake drunk experience.

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