Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Alcohol products hit new level of concern...

Powdered alcohol could be the next drug we see coming to our community. The drug manufacturer is still seeking approval of the product but many states are placing bans on powdered alcohol to prevent the dangers they will face if the drug is approved. 

Powdered Alcohol Fact Sheet
What it is: Freeze-dried alcohol in powder form. The powder comes in a packet to be mixed with water or other liquid in order to quickly and easily create an alcoholic drink. One packet has the same alcohol content as one shot. Lipsmark, the company that makes Palcohol, plans to offer the product in two alcoholic forms: vodka and rum, and four cocktail forms: Mojito, Cosmopolitan, Powderita, and Lemon Drop, with various flavors. 

Other Names: Palcohol (brand name)

What is looks like: White fluffy powder. It is to be sold in a 4”x6” packet that serves as the cup when mixed with liquid. The packet gives warning the product is not to be snorted. 

How it could be used: Five ounces of liquid are to be added to the powder to equal a standard drink. It could also be sprinkled on food, snorted, and inhaled. The packets could easily be snuck into schools, sporting events, concerts, and other places where alcohol is banned. 

Concerns: Risk of misuse and abuse is high. These sweet, pre-made powders appeal to youth with their various flavorings, as well as the appearance of the packets (similar to Kool-aide and Crystal Light), and ability to be easily hidden. The company who makes Palcohol has made very direct appeals to youth with statements about sneaking it into alcohol banned events and locations, various ways of using the product for a greater “kick”, and with a motto that equates alcohol to friendship: “Take your Pal wherever you go!” It could be inhaled, snorted, or mixed with too small amount of liquid causing a dangerously high level of alcohol. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer says powdered alcohol could become “the Kool-aid of teen binge drinking.” Hospitalizations and possible death could occur from misuse or abuse. Those unfamiliar with the products potency are at greater risk of harm and misuse.

Where it will be sold: To be sold in the same locations any other liquor is sold with same legislation as liquid alcohol. Only those over 21 years old will be allowed to purchase. If approved, it will be available in the United States, abroad, and online. Each state will have to enact their own standards on the product. 

Current Status: The product’s labels were approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) on April 8th but then revoked on April 21st stating an error found with a discrepancy in the fill level (how much powder is in the bag). Lipsmark is reconsidering their labels to clearly explain the contents to prevent abuse and misuse, and reconsidering the amount of powder in the packets (therefore the volume of alcohol per packet). Lipsmark is resubmitting the labels for approval. 

Senator Schumer is asking the FDA to prevent federal approval of Palcohol. If approved, it could hit shelves as early as the fall, but pending approval/disapproval time is unknown.

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