Utah a step ahead on Four Loko

Some of you have a great talent for jumping to conclusions. In my last post, my point was that all Americans should make educated decisions when voting — not that you need to demonstrate a certain level of formal education to vote. Also, I absolutely want young people to vote. Three of my children are older than 18. I’ve encouraged each of them to register, and I’ve honestly never even suggested to them how to vote. They need to study and make informed choices, not vote just because they were told to do so by a drummer.
Now, onto another topic. Utah often gets criticized for its state-controlled liquor system. But this week it was nice to see that a nationwide controversy over energy drinks laced with alcohol and caffeine was a non-story here.

That’s because you already can’t buy Four Loko or similar drinks here. I spoke this morning with a spokesperson for the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. She said a committee already studied these products and decided they should not be allowed for sale either in state liquor stores or in retail establishments. For one thing, the packaging makes it too hard to distinguish them from soft drinks. For another, they contain 12 percent alcohol and the caffeine equivalent of several cups of coffee.
This combination makes drinkers feel less drunk than they are. Rather than pass out, they keep going. That’s why so many students at Central Washington University became so seriously ill over the weekend.
By the way, here’s an unfortunate editorial from the student newspaper at Central Florida University. It argues for keeping these drinks legal and was written just before the near tragedy in Washington.
Lots of states are now struggling with whether to ban these drinks. Utah, thankfully, is way ahead of them.
FYI, here is a CNN report on the Central Washington incident:

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About the Author

Jay Evensen

Jay Evensen is the Senior Editorial Columnist for the Deseret News. He has 32 years of journalism experience covering politics and a variety of other assignments at news organizations ranging from United Press International in New York City to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Deseret News, where he has worked since 1986. During that time, he has won numerous local, regional and national awards. Most recently, he was given the Cameron Duncan Media Award, given annually in Washington, D.C., by the advocacy group RESULTS, to the journalist judged to have done the most to further the cause of the world's poorest people.

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