Four Loko – Blackout in a Can or Legal Speedball?

Legal Speedball?

by Screedler on October 17, 2010

Four Loko, a relatively new adult beverage on the market that contains up to 12% alcohol per can (depending on  flavor) has been getting a lot of press in the media this last week.  The attention it’s garnering is well deserved.  It has been pinpointed as a culprit in dozens of hospitalizations at several north east colleges since schools have kicked into fall semester this year.  

This is an alcohol-laced energy drink equivalent to at least three beers, a can of Red Bull and a shot of espresso.  It comes in a 24 oz. can that to me looks like a typical energy drink except for the small print 12% ABV.   

Both Fox News and Huffington Post websites have stories detailing the hospitalizations and the efforts to educate the youth on the dangers of this product.  I applaud both articles, but being an alcoholic and working with people of their target consumer age, I wonder if the attention will do more harm than good.  I bet that the manufacturers of this product are wondering how this bad press will play out.  Will it be bad enough to get their product outlawed or will it be the kind of bad press that makes people just want to try it even more.  In this situation it might be a case of any press is good press.  You just have to do a couple of searches on the web to find articles on websites such as FARK  with hundreds of comments extolling on how great an experience chugging a Four Loko can be.  There are more than one facebook pages for the product – one in particular demanding it in keg form –  OMG indeed.

Four Loko’s creators must be given credit – they have a sophisticated website that does a little bit of CYA with an awesome “Responsible Drinking Page” that may come in handy in future legal matters.  It’s also interesting to note that the creators of Four Loco are three college friends from The Ohio State University that had the entrepreneurial idea to start their own company.  I wonder which one of them came up with the formula.  Large amounts of caffeine, taurine, guarana, and alcohol.  A legal version of the infamous speedball.  Brilliant.

And if you think I’m guilty or hypocritical in posting an article on this nefarious product; perhaps I am.  But your on an addiction and recovery website aren’t you?  Please check out what we have to offer here…stories and tips on sobriety.  I’ll keep you posted on this killer product as I’m sure more news will be forthcoming.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paul A November 17, 2010 at 7:07 am

I just heard about this beverage on the news. NY has become one of four states to ban the drink (we all know how well that works) and as a result the company is taking the caffeine out of Four Loco. Before I found your site, I found a site that claimed that drinking four cans of FourLoco gives you the same buzz as cocaine. So that ‘s the real problem the cocaine rumour. All the kids have to do is take a couple of no- doze at the same time they drink four.


2 Guinevere October 19, 2010 at 10:47 am

And the website is not “FourLoko,” but “DrinkFour.” College kids are trying to drink four of these in a row. … Check out YouTube–you’ll find a lot of videos of kids pounding this stuff.


3 Luke October 26, 2010 at 10:27 pm

I agree…college kids are dumb…but how is that FourLoko’s fault?


4 Screedler October 28, 2010 at 7:27 am

Again – I see no blaming or faulting in this comment – but you have to admit they are somewhat complicent – Four Loko does not just grow on trees.


5 October 19, 2010 at 9:42 am

…which all points to the need for standard drink labels on alcoholic beverage containers and drink menus for those served in bars and restaurants! For the person trying to stay within moderate drinking limits, one practically needs a math degree in order to figure out the alcohol content in the particular drink s/he is drinking. What you showed above is exactly what a person has to do — and given many of the same types of alcoholic beverages contain different ABVs, it can be crazy-making!!


6 Screedler October 18, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Good eye Lisa – I did not fact check the numbers presented by the articles I mentioned. If you do the math of what one 4Loko has in it compared to one Bud Lite that you can by in my home state (Alabama) the numbers work out like this – 1 12oz Bud Lite has 4.2 ABV so … if we multiply that by almost 3 (AVB at 12%) and then double for the number of ounces (24) your over the 5 beer mark. Now granted a normal Bud is 5% AVB here in Bama. The legal limit for a beer here just recently went to 6%. On top of that throw in the caffiene and taurine and you have a recipe for disaster.


7 October 18, 2010 at 9:36 pm

It’s even worse that this — each 24-ounce can contains the equivalent of 5 (FIVE) beers — in other words, 5 standard drinks — the same amount of alcohol as 5, 1.5 ounce shots of tequila or 5, 5-ounce glasses of wine. FIVE!
Given it takes the liver an average of 1 hour to process 1 standard drink — that’s about 5 hours to rid the brain and body of the alcohol contained in 1 Four Loco — no wonder people are being hospitalized and/or doing “things” they just wouldn’t do after drinking Four Loco.


8 Luke October 26, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Wait…why would you blame the company for the CONSUMER drinking it. If I bought 24 ounces of liquor and I drank all of it, I’d be an idiot. So why is knowingly drinking an entire four loko the company’s fault?


9 Screedler October 27, 2010 at 6:31 am

After reading her comment, I see no blaming – just the stating of some facts. It’s dangerous; just like “Shards O’ Glass” candy.


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