An alcohol drink gaining popularity among local college students has state officials and medical professionals worried about the potentially lethal effects.
“For people not used to the effects of drinking it can knock them sideways and can be very dangerous and lethal,” said Dr. John Kelly, associate director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.
A spokeswoman for Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office said they are investigating the drink, called Four Loko, to try and determine if the company has violated any consumer protection laws.
Kelly said one can of Four Loko is equal to about six drinks and five cups of coffee and students asked about the drink yesterday referred to it is as “blackout in a can.”
A clerk at a Brookline liquor store that sells the drink said its buyers are mainly younger college-aged students who buy six or seven at a time.
Students on Boston University’s campus said they’ve heard of the drink.
Roey Barkan, a sophomore, said he’s never tried it, but that his friend recently went to a Four Loko party.
Casey Larkin, a senior, said he’s tried it and that people at parties usually pass it around just to say they have tasted it rather than drink the whole can.
“It’s like a vodka Red Bull times like three,” he said.
Kelly said part of the dangerousness of the drink comes from its design that resembles an energy drink. He also said that it’s pop-top can allows for the notion that it is meant to be consumed all at once, rather than saved and consumed over a period of time.