NJ Lawmakers Call For College Ban On Alcoholic Energy Drinks

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TRENTON – Senators Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) and Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), chairs of the Senate Education and the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committees, respectively, urged New Jersey’s college and university presidents to ban from their campuses alcoholic energy drinks.

In letters issued to all college and university presidents, the senators said an immediate statewide campus ban is necessary because of the risk involved with students consuming too much of the substance, and the potential for widespread sickness.

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“We cannot emphasize enough the danger these drinks pose to our young people,” the Senators wrote. “A single alcoholic energy drink contains the equivalent of up to four beers and three cups of coffee, an extremely potent combination of depressants and stimulants that can create a deceiving sense of sobriety, leading to over-intoxication and blackouts. Extreme intoxication has become so widespread with consumption that the popular Four Loko alcoholic energy drink inspired a Web site that serves as a forum for consumers to post their blackout stories.”

The Senators’ request comes after 23 alcohol-related hospitalizations of Ramapo University students, some of whom had been drinking the stimulant-laced alcoholic beverages. The university subsequently banned the drinks from campus last month, but other Garden State colleges and universities have not followed suit.

Meanwhile, controversy over the drinks has grown. The hospitalization of nine students after an off-campus party near Central Washington University led college officials to approve a campus-wide ban. Yesterday, the state of Washington banned the drinks statewide. Michigan has also prohibited sales of the drinks in the state. And the controversy has prompted discussions in New York about changing state laws to give the State Liquor Authority the power to outlaw the cocktails.

The Senators are having legislation drafted to ban alcoholic energy drinks from all college campuses – both public and independent – but, in the interest of student safety, are urging the university presidents and boards of trustees to institute an immediate campus-wide ban.

The most popular of the alcoholic energy drinks include Four Loko, Joose and 808, and are sold in a variety of juice flavors for $2 to $3 a can.


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