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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Four Loko riskier than beer

Ernie Somoza/ Arizona Daily Wildcat
Ernie Somoza
Ernie Somoza/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Four Loko comes in eight flavors, contains 12 percent alcohol and is less than $3. This alcoholic energy drink popular among students can be more harmful to a person’s body than a beer or cocktail, officials say.

Lee Ann Hamilton, assistant director of Health Promotion and Preventive Services for Campus Health Service, said a standard 12-ounce beer has a 4 to 6 percent alcohol content, while a 4 or 5 ounce glass of wine is generally less than 12.5 percent.

Hamilton explained that a 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko equals 5.6 standard drinks because it contains 2.88 ounces of pure ethanol.

In comparison, a can of Keystone Light has a half-ounce of pure alcohol, around one-sixth the typical amount of a Four Loko.

Hamilton said those who drink Four Loko might experience nervousness and agitation, as well as possible impairment of judgment, motor and muscle control.

A person with a light build could easily black out from having one of these drinks, she said. However, blacking out does depend on several factors, some being weight, gender, time and concentration of alcohol consumed.

“”A woman who weighs 120 pounds would have a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.217, almost three times the legal limit of 0.08 after drinking just one can of Four Loko,”” she said. “”That BAC (blood-alcohol content) is easily high enough to cause a blackout.””

Hamilton added that a woman with that blood-alcohol content would be over 100 times more likely than a sober person to cause a fatal accident if driving a car. A bit more alcohol and she would be at a 0.30 BAC level, where many people lose consciousness and pass out she said.

The drink is produced by Phusion Projects LLC and headquartered in Chicago, Ill. It is part of the brand “”Four,”” a line of two caffeinated alcoholic beverages that also includes Four MaXed.

Current estimates show Phusion Projects, a private company categorized under wholesale liquors, has annual revenue of $1 million.  

Students say they drink Four Lokos because it is inexpensive and gets them intoxicated easily.

Dustin Dye, a business major, said he first heard about the drink from friends last year and saw advertisements.

“”It tastes fruity but gross. I don’t like the taste,”” he said. “”But I like how it gets me drunk faster than other things, even though the taste isn’t great.””

Dye said he has about five or six of them a week, and his favorite flavor is lemonade.

He said after you drink one Four Loko you feel antsy.

Dye said he has gotten stomachaches, but he has never thrown up or blacked out from drinking it.

Within five miles of the UA, there are 170 businesses that sell Four Loko, based on the company website’s product locator.

Alan Hayman, the assistant manager of the 7-Eleven at 1001 E. Speedway Blvd., said he has carried the drink in the store for the past two months and the first month they were unable to keep them on the shelves because they sold so quickly.

Some people buy a dozen at a time he said.

“”I think it is because of the alcohol content, (students) just wanna get drunk,”” Hayman said.


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