A Most Dangerous Drink

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Queens City Councilman James Sanders called on the city last week to ban the sale of a drink called Four Loko. The beverage combines alcohol with caffeine. It is widely used by college students and health experts say it is more dangerous than any beverage legally available.

The caffeine keeps the drinker alert and conceals the effects of the alcohol. Kids say it is the fastest way to get wasted and it is legal.

Youth are starting to die from accidents related to the consumption of this drink, but nothing is likely to happen until more die. Sanders has called for an investigation into the dangers of the drink. The packaging makes it easy to mistake Four Loko for a harmless energy drink.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has begun an investigation into the effects of highly caffeinated beverages. If, because of the caffeine, young people do not realize how drunk they are, they are more likely to drive.

The company that distributes the beverage, Phusion Projects, is fighting against calls to ban Four Loko. What a surprise.

Utah has already banned the sale of this drink but, while we support Sanders’ call, we fear that a ban in New York City will not hold up in court. Another approach might be more effective: Community organizations could appeal to liquor stores, bodegas and corner stores not to sell the drink. If they continue to sell the drink, area residents can boycott.

Why shop at any store that is willing to sell a product so clearly dangerous?

State Bets on Racino Revenues

After endless bickering, investigations and scandals, ground was broken last week on the racino project at Aqueduct Race Track. The builders expect that the first 1,600 of the 4,250 video lottery terminals will be operational within six months.

The state says the project will create 1,200 construction and 800 permanent jobs. When it is fully functional, the New York Racing Association says the casino will generate more than $300 million in revenue for the state each year.

That, of course, means gamblers will need to lose more at the VLTs each year.

For the sake of those who will get jobs, we hope the racino succeeds, but the math involved in this casino a little scary.

Updated 6:17 pm, October 10, 2011
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