Measures Would Prohibit Liquor License Holders From Selling Alcoholic Energy Drinks

WALL, NJ - Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini has introduced legislation which would prohibit the sale of alcoholic energy drinks. Angelini said that the popularity of the energy drink Four Loko, which contains an unusually high amount of alcohol and caffeine, demonstrates the necessity for this legislation.

“Mixing alcohol with caffeine can be a very dangerous combination,” said Angelini. “Caffeine makes a person feel more alert and then they may be less aware of the effects of the alcohol they have been drinking, which could then result in dangerous behavior such as driving.”

A Wake Forest University study published in 2009 found that college students who mix alcohol with caffeine are more likely to incur alcohol-related injuries than students who drink only alcohol.

College newspapers are warning students about the dangerous effects of Four Loko. For example, an article in Colgate University’s student newspaper stated that 13 students had been hospitalized for drug and alcohol abuse as of September 20 and the drink Four Loko is being investigated as the cause.

“The effects of drinking alcoholic energy drinks, such as Four Loko, have been described as being similar to the effects of cocaine,” said Angelini. “Many states are investigating these effects and it is clear that the New Jersey Legislature needs to eliminate the sale of alcoholic energy drinks before we are faced with tragic consequences.”

The penalty for selling an alcoholic energy drink under the bill would be a minimum of $250 for the first violation, a minimum of $500 for the second violation, and a minimum of $1,000 for the third and any subsequent violations.