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URI students question energy drink ban

November 16, 2010

Members of the student senate at the University of Rhode Island say banning drinks like Four Loko, which mix alcohol and stimulants like caffeine, may have unintended consequences. URI Student President David Coates says he believes bans at URI and other college campuses have only raised the profile of alcoholic energy drinks.

“The national media attention is making it a lot more popular,” says Coates. “Because places are banning it, people are actively seeking to try it now.”

University officials cited safety concerns when they announced the ban earlier this month. Some health experts have warned that caffeine can mask the effects of alcohol, putting those who drink the beverages at a greater risk for alcohol poisoning.

Several states including Rhode Island and Massachusetts are considering state-wide bans on alcoholic energy drinks. Four states have already banned them, and the company that makes Four Loko recently agreed to stop distributing the product in New York by November 19th.

Phusion, the maker of Four Loko, says it is cooperating with a U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation into the effects of caffeinated alcoholic products.

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