Powdered alcohol: yay or nay?

The Drunkorexia Diet Plan

Palcohol – short for “powdered alcohol” – is a new product poised to hit store shelves that weighs less than an ounce and allows consumers to add a little alcoholic kick to their food or beverages. To some, it sounds like nothing more than a trendy new product that may or may not stick. To others, it is a potentially dangerous drug that needs to be avoided at all costs.

US Senator Charles Schumer of New York is in the latter camp. He is spearheading a campaign against the product with the goal of stopping it from ever going to market by petitioning the FDA to outlaw the drug. He called Palcohol “the Kool-Aid of teen binge drinking,” according to the Wall Street Journal, and he believes that the substance will only increase the rates of alcohol use among teens and young adults – a risk not worth the perceived benefit.

Whether or not this dog and pony show is even necessary is unclear since the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) recently permitted labels for the product but then released a statement that the approval was an error.  Sen. Schumer is not alone – lawmakers in both Vermont and Minnesota have introduced legislation that would ban Palcohol or any form of powdered alcohol in their respective states, according to The Washington Post.

Are Concerns Valid?

Potentially. The company that makes Palcohol has said that they will offer their product in six flavors, including Lemon Drop, Mojito, Powderita, Cosmopolitan, Rum, and Vodka, all of which may be of interest to teens, especially the flavored varieties.

Additionally, because the product is so new, the fact is that we just don’t know anything about potential harmful effects. Because this is a completely new format for the drug (and not just another liquid alcoholic beverage), there are important facts that we don’t know that inhibit the ability to make an informed decision:

  • How does it affect different age groups and/or populations?
  • What are the acute effects of varying amounts of powdered alcohol?
  • What are the long-term effects of using the substance?
  • Does it affect people differently if they binge on it? What if they dissolve it in an alcoholic beverage? What if they snort it? What if they combine its use with use of other illicit substances like marijuana or prescription pills?

What’s Your Opinion?

Do you believe that powdered alcohol should be sold and regulated like liquid alcohol? Do you think it should be banned, or should there be special restrictions on its sale and/or use? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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