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The Banning of Caffeinated Alcohol Drinks has Begun

The war against caffeinated alcohol drinks is on -- a second state is now banning them, while other states, cities and college campuses are considering bans.

The drinks -- the most popular brands are Four Loko and Joose -- quickly became a target after a series of college students had to be rushed to hospitals after drinking too much this year. Things came to a head last month when 50 students at Central Washington University got sick at a party.

Now Michigan has joined Utah in banning them, giving manufacturers 30 days to get the stuff out of the state. The Pennsylvania liquor control board has urged distributors to stop selling the drinks. And the Chicago City Council is considering banning drinks pre-mixed with alcohol.

On Thursday, the University of Rhode Island became the latest college to ban the drink from  campus, joining a number of schools in Washington state and New Jersey.

"The commission's concern for health, safety and welfare of Michigan citizens and the fact that there is not enough research to validate that these products are safe for consumption has made me believe that until further research is done by the FDA, they should no longer be on Michigan shelves," Michigan Liquor Control Commission Chairwoman Nida Samona said in the statement.

The  23.5-ounce cans mix the alcohol equivalent of five beers with the caffeine of a tall Starbucks coffee. Phusion Projects, the company that makes Four Loko, said they didn't invent the idea of mixing the two.

"People have safely combined caffeine and alcohol for years," the company argued in a statement posted on its website. "Rum and colas, Red Bull and vodkas and Irish coffees are standard fare in bars and restaurants everywhere."

However, experts say the problem is that these drinks can mask the effects of alcohol, allowing people to drink too much without realizing it.

"When consumed responsibly, our products are just as safe as any other alcoholic beverage," the company said.


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