JACKSON, MS (WLBT) The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to four manufacturers of alcoholic energy drinks Wednesday, saying the caffeine they contain is an unsafe food additive.
They come in every flavor under the rainbow and are gaining popularity among people who shouldn't be drinking in the first place. Alcoholic energy drinks like 4 Loko are quickly becoming the drink of choice because of their high alcohol content, like Loko which contains 12-percent alcohol.
Daisy Carter is a Community Outreach Specialist with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency of central Mississippi. She says drinks like four loco can mask a person's feeling of intoxication, leading to erratic behavior or ignoring health risks.
Carter said, "Energy drinks are a stimulant, alcohol is a depressant, so when they're combined it makes the brain completely and totally confused. Anything combined with 4 Loko can cause any reaction. It can cause increased heart rate dehydration, panic attacks and the teens again are unaware they're intoxicated."
There's been several cases of young drinkers passing out and being hospitalized after drinking four loko, and even one death.
The F.D.A. says the drinks give those who consume them, a wide-awake drunk feeling. They've ordered the drink makers to prove their drinks are safe or take them off the shelves in 15 days.
Four states have banned the beverages, and other states are considering similar action.
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood released a statement applauding the F.D.A. for their actions, saying the drinks are often targeted and marketed towards a young audience. Hood said it's the first step in taking the drinks off the shelves for good.
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