SCHUMER: POWDERED ALCOHOL—PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS TO KIDS—COULD HIT SHELVES IN NEXT FEW WEEKS; SENATOR LAUNCHES EMERGENCY PUSH, ADDING NEW AMENDMENT TO LEGISLATION THIS WEEK TO BAN “PALCOHOL”; SAYS IF WE TAKE NO ACTION, WE WILL REGRET IT BY END OF SUMMER
Federal TTB Approved Labels for Palcohol Earlier This Year & is Now Legal to Be Sold, With Plans To Hit Shelves This Summer; Last Year, Schumer Called On FDA to Step In And Investigate the Dangerous Product, But Shockingly No Action Was Taken
Schumer’s Legislation Makes it Illegal to Sell Palcohol, Which Was Originally Targeted At Kids-n-Teens, Suggested To Snort, Is Highly Concentrated, Easily Concealed; Senator Says With Onset of Summer—When The Most Alcohol-Related Fatalities Occur— And Outdoor Events That Attract Teens, Congress Should Ban Palcohol ASAP
Schumer: Palcohol & Kids/Teens Should Never Mix But That’s What Will Happen This Summer If Product Hits Store Shelves
June 7, 2015 -- With powdered alcohol possibly set to hit store shelves in the next few weeks, during the height of summer, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today launched an emergency push to ban Palcohol. Schumer’s new federal legislative push would make the production, sale and possession of powdered alcohol illegal. Earlier this year, Palcohol was approved for federal labels by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and the company says it will hit store shelves as early as the next few weeks.
Palcohol—particularly dangerous to kids and teens—is easily concealable, can be mixed with water, and can even be snorted. Schumer explained that New York and the rest of the country has a massive problem of underage drinking, DUI’s and other alcohol-related crime, and said that Palcohol creates an immense danger to teens and others. Health experts have noted that a child that tries an alcohol product before the age of 15 is five times more likely to become addicted to other illegal products.
Schumer also noted that the summer months are notoriously known for alcohol-related fatalities. In 2013, the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration said June and August were the deadliest months on the road for that year. Moreover, drunk driving deaths represented 43% of all fatalities that same year. Schumer worries that a Palcohol debut in the next few weeks will only make these statistics worse and that’s why he is calling for passage of his new amendment to ban Palcohol before it hits the shelves and endangers scores of young drivers.
“It’s a sad fact that the summer months produce America’s saddest stories when it comes to our youth and drunk-driving fatalities,” said Senator Schumer. “Underage alcohol abuse is already an epidemic with tragic consequences a product like Palcohol would just exacerbate that scourge, which is why we must stop it. Support for this new amendment is the only way to make it illegal to produce or sell this Kool-Aid for underage binge drinking.”
Schumer also highlighted a 2011 study in the ‘Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs’ which showed that the number of hospitalizations of young adults ages 18-24 due to alcohol overdoses has been steadily increasing for over a decade. The National Institute of Health also reports that approximately 5,000 people under the age of 21 die each year from alcohol-related incidents.
Palcohol is freeze dried alcohol produced in a powder form. According to its website, the company which produces Palcohol plans to release at least four varieties, the labels for which were approved by TTB. Palcohol can be combined with water or another liquid toinstantly create an alcoholic beverage. The company also suggests adding Palcohol to food like guacamole, salads and sauce.
The company’s original website brazenly suggested different ways in which Palcohol could be used, including illegally bringing Palcohol to stadium events to avoid overpriced drinks. The company also suggested combining Palcohol with foods after they are cooked; some suggestions included: ‘vodka on eggs’ and ‘rum on a sandwich.’ The company even explained that Palcohol could be snorted to get drunk “almost instantly.” This suggestions on Palcohol’s website have since been taken down, once Schumer and others voiced major concerns.
Palcohol was originally approved by TTB, which was then rescinded on April 21st due to a discrepancy in the “fill level” for each packet, or the amount of powder in each pouch. The company agreed to surrender the label, but noted that “This doesn’t mean that Palcohol isn’t approved. It just means that these labels aren’t approved. We will re-submit labels.” In May, Schumer called on the FDA to immediately step in and halt sales of Palcohol. Shockingly, the FDA has since declined to investigate this obviously dangerous product. Schumer noted that in the past, FDA stopped companies from selling ‘Four Loko,’ even after the TTB approved the product.
In March, Palcohol announced that TTB has approved its labels and according to their website, they hope to make the product available this summer.
Schumer’s legislation will include language explicitly banning the production, sale, distribution or possession of powdered alcohol. Schumer said that we must prevent the product from ever hitting store shelves, to avoid hospitalizations and death that are likely to follow, particularly when the product’s dangers are largely unknown in the first few months of availability.
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