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USF Health

4lokos…Crazy or Dangerous?

Tampa—The latest trend on most U.S. college campuses, including the University of South Florida, is a drink called “4loko,” one of the most dangerous alcoholic energy drinks on the market.

The alcoholic energy drink (AED) has become a nationwide trend due to the mix of 12% alcohol and the energy ingredients: caffeine, taurine and guarana. The combination of these four ingredients in any AED has been found to be extremely dangerous.

Photo Credits: Katie North

The price of the drink and the effects of the drink are the reason college students are being drawn to this AED. The average price of a 4loko is $3 a can. Students today can feel the effects of the alcohol and the energy drink, which allows them to party all night long, without them, knowing what is going on with their bodies.

According to the physicians group of the University of South Florida Health Services, “Studies have shown that the caffeine in the beverage masks the effects of the alcohol at first, which forces consumers to drink a lot more than they normally would.”

Three students at Ohio State University created the 4loko drink in 2005 after they noticed a trend in students mixing energy drinks and alcohol.

Jenny Allen, a senior at USF, said, “It just gets you so buzzed and it only costs $3. Every time I drink them I end up blacking out and not remembering my night.”

According to Jennifer Fuller, Coordinator of Alcohol & Other Drugs Awareness & Prevention Initiatives at USF, “In 2010, 61.3 percent of USF students have never partaken in High-Risk drinking four or more drinks in a day. 22.8 percent said they have participated in high-risk drinking just once, 8.5 percent drank in a high-risk manner twice, and 7.3 percent drank in a high-risk fashion more than three times.”

CNN reported in November of 2009, “Twenty-five incidents of alcohol poisoning involving these 4loko beverages.”

Students all over the country are on a budget, and a lot of them like to have a good time. 4loko is providing a great time for a great price, but these students do not know the dangers.

According to USA Today, “One 4loko is said to contain as much alcohol as 5-6 beers and as much caffeine as up to five cups of coffee.” The drink is referred to as “blackout in a can.”

Physicians said, “It gives the consumer a delayed drunk feeling, because it combines such large amounts of caffeine and alcohol.”

Senior Jo Borris, said, I drank a 4loko because my room mate suggested it at a party. I drank one can, it was disgusting and I have never had one again.”

Because of this deadly mixture students are drinking more than they know, and once the stimulant feeling of the caffeine wears off, the effects of all the alcohol consumed are felt very suddenly.

About Katie North

I am a senior at the University of South Florida. I am pursuing a career in sports broadcasting. I love all sports but my two favorites are football and basketball.


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