D.C. Health Department asks GERMS to report Four Loko cases

Growing opposition from medical and academic communities may threaten the continued production of Four Loko, a hyper-caffeinated malt liquor dubbed “blackout in a can.”

The main concern? The mix of caffeine and alcohol causes heavier, longer periods of drinking.

Four Loko consumption at college campuses across the country have caused a recent frenzy of backlash against the cheap beverage. Nine students at Central Washington University were hospitalized after drinking Four Loko. Ramapo College, a small public school in New Jersey, banned the drink last month. And earlier today, Harvard University officials warned students to avoid Four Loko. (Even the New York Times jumped on the trend.)

According to Mary Jane Reen (COL ’11), GERMS director of public relations, the D.C. Department of Health is now keeping tabs on Four Loko-related hospitalizations.

“The D.C. Department of Health has asked all EMS agencies in the District of Columbia to report any cases involving consumption of “Four Loko” energy drinks,” Reen wrote in an email. “In order to maintain patient confidentiality, any identifying information is removed before the report is sent to the Department of Health.”

Several states, including New Jersey, Montana, and Utah, are already looking to restrict or ban the sale of caffeinated alcoholic beverages. While D.C. Health Department officials have yet to confirm they are doing the same, Four Loko nonetheless appears to be going the way of Tilt and Sparks.

Call us crazy, but we don’t think a Lokomotive ban will stop college students from finding cheap alcohol.

13 Comments on “D.C. Health Department asks GERMS to report Four Loko cases

  1. if you drink it reasonably, it’s not that bad. It’s important to look at the facts:

    “All the hospitalized students were inexperienced drinkers – freshmen ranging in age from 17 to 19.”

    “Some students admitted drinking vodka, rum and beer with Four Loko”

    Outlawing Four Loko is absurd. Following that same logic, we should outlaw Vodka, because some freshmen take 10 shots under an hour then start chugging beers and go to the hospital.
    Or we should outlaw cars, because some people drive them recklessly.

    The fun should not be ruined for normal people who understand the limits of alcohol because some kids are acting like idiots.

    P.s. This whole “blackout in a can” thing has to stop. It’s exaggerated. At best, one Four Loko alone gives you a slight buzz and nothing more.

  2. Does this drink differ significantly from the Jagerbomb?

    Personally, I prefer to keep energy drinks sacred to the all-night paper-writing fest and alcohol, to fun, but if bars can serve a shot in a Red Bull, I don’t see what the big deal with this Loko thing is.

  3. You must drink alot if you only get a slight buzz off Four Loko. If you’re going to be responsible why not drink a beer, instead of putting the only set of organs you own to the test.

  4. For those not mathematically inclined, 23.5 fl oz of 12% ABV is equivalent to 4.7 shots (5.4 if you’re doing flavors!) or about 5.6 beer cans (or almost exactly a double shot of Everclear).

    Depending on who you listen to, Four Loko contains about 135-156 mg of caffeine per can — roughly as much as an eight-ounce cup of coffee.

  5. Neo-Luddites oppose the latest advancement in beverage technology? Outrageous!

    Before Four Loko, I had to get Red Bull and Vodka separately, and then mix them. Four Loko has been to my drinking as the iPhone was to other stuff that I want bundled in one device.

  6. Am I missing something in all this 4Loko fear? Like, is my heart supposed to go out because of the booze and caffeine? Because I could actually see that as a possibility, but I haven’t heard any reports of it. Instead, all you hear are “Dur, people drink a lot, and blame it on this new drink!”

    Seriously folks, if you’re going to Loko, you need to realize the responsibilities that brings with it. Eat a lot–a lot–before doing it, and don’t plan on having any other drinks that night. Maybe have some non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages (although hell if I could tell you what that would be–milk?) to help you slow down when you’re ready to hit bed. Finally, never have more than one in a night (or a month, for that matter).

  7. I wonder if GERMS is obligated to provide this information. If they’re not, they should refuse. They provide a medical service to Georgetown students. They’re not the DC Health Department’s information-gathering branch.

  8. GERMS is regulated by the DC Dept. of Health, so they probably have to

  9. This whole argument is absurd. You don’t have to be an experienced drinker to know that one 4 loko by itself will not hospitalize anyone. I know someone who drank three in one night and while yes he does drink he is by no means a “tank” or alcoholic. With that being said that night he was perfectly fine interacting at the party and was not passing out or vomiting anywhere. Yea this argument probably changes for girls and freshman in general but in no way is this “blackout in a can”. The media and colleges are blowing this out of proportion. If you add add vodka to the drink and go to the hospital it, is on the person who drank it, not the drink company. The kids who had to go to the hospital did it to themselves and should thus admit fault for their own mistakes and not ruin this for the rest of us responsible, yet lacking loads of funds, college students

  10. “…he was perfectly fine interacting at the party and was not passing out or vomiting anywhere…”

    What a wonderful standard to hold ourselves to.

  11. Pingback: Vox Populi » Comments of the Week: The Pope and Four Loko

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