Tulsa Area Teens Seeking Caffeinated Energy Drink Loaded With Alcohol

Thursday, October 28th 2010, 7:50 am
By: News On 6

Jeromee Scot, Newson6.com

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Oklahoma parents need to know about a new high caffeine energy drink called Four Loko that is becoming a big hit with Tulsa area teenagers. 

"We have kids dying across the United States because they don't know how to handle this," said Maribeth Blunt, a psychotherapist who deals with alcohol and substance abuse. "I've had one client that was in Saint Francis ER several weeks ago and almost died of alcohol poisoning because she was at the home of a friend who served this high alcohol beer, and she didn't know it was high alcohol." 

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson is joining Attorneys General throughout the country in investigating Four Loko. 

Edmondson said the drink is unsafe and should be regulated by the FDA.  Drinking one can of Four Loko, which is 23.5 ounces, is the same as drinking six cans of beer.  The drink also has the same amount of caffeine as a 12 ounce coffee. 

The high alcohol content in Four Loko lowers a person's consciousness, but the caffeine causes them to drink more, Blunt said. 

News On 6 found Four Loko for sale in Tulsa at Harvard Liquors, just around the corner from the University of Tulsa. 

The store has five flavors, including grape, lemonade and watermelon, all costing $1.99 each. 

Oklahoma high school students think Four Loko and other malt liquors are becoming the next big trend, Blunt said. 

"There are a lot of kids who are going to die from this before somebody realizes that there's a product out there that's unregulated or regulated incorrectly." Maribeth Blunt said.

Earlier this month, police in Washington state says Four Loko was the drink at a house party in which nine university students, most of them women, ended up in hospitals after overdosing on the drink.

The makers of Four Loko, Phusion Projects, released the following statement:

"No one is more upset than we are when our products are abused or consumed illegally by underage drinkers. We go to great lengths to ensure our products are not sold to underage consumers and are not abused.  As a company, we do all we can to ensure that our products are consumed safely and responsibly."