Powdered alcohol spells trouble

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Daniel Garcia/HIGHLANDER

Drinking — “Everyone does it!” “Just try it!” “One drink won’t hurt!” Neither will two or maybe three. But once you go one drop over your limit you may find yourself with your arms wrapped around a toilet or blacked out and not knowing what happened the night before. But it’s okay, right? You have a designated driver and they will get you home safe; you just have to get through the next day’s hangover and it’ll all be fine.

Many people underestimate the dangers of alcohol every day. People under 21 in particular sometimes forget that drinking alcohol comes with serious responsibilities. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, underage drinking is one of the leading problems in the U.S., resulting in traffic injuries and long-term effects like strokes, hypertension and cancer. What’s more, the age for those who engage in binge-drinking activities has declined throughout the years, meaning that younger and younger children have experimented with alcohol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about “4,300 annual deaths among underage youth” are caused by alcohol.

Even though alcohol is legal for consumers over 21, the truth is that underage drinking is part of this country’s reality. Adolescents and young adults will find a way to purchase alcohol in search of a good time. But a new substance called Palcohol can make matters worse. Palcohol is powdered alcohol that can be mixed with water to create alcoholic beverages anywhere and at anytime at all. The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau had approved Palcohol for retail sale, but fortunately withdrew its approval after 13 days.

Palcohol makes it easier to transport and carry alcohol around. By making it more compact, the creator of Palcohol is also making it easier for adolescents to hide alcohol from parents or other authority figures who many otherwise oppose consumption of alcohol. As a result, it would facilitate underage alcohol consumption and all the risks that come with it.

The website promoting Palcohol mentions that companies have considered the product to make new items such as adult ice cream. Using a dessert to encourage the consumption of alcohol can be an appealing idea to adolescents, but by pointing this out online, the company is glamorizing the idea of powdered alcohol. Big companies will see a market and advertise it, making it into a trend young people would want to follow. Because adolescents and young adults like to follow the latest trends, glamorizing alcohol in this way would only promote its consumption to the wrong audience.

Another negative aspect of this product is its potential misuse. Consumers, including underage drinkers, can easily snort the powder which would be incredibly dangerous. Alcohol is meant to be consumed in moderation. It is meant to be consumed in social events. It is meant to ease tensions, creating a relaxed atmosphere in which people feel comfortable socializing with one another. It is not meant to get hammered and make a fool out of yourself.

Even though Palcohol is intended for responsible use, no one, besides the consumer, is able to stop misuse. It is important to note the concentration level of alcohol in this powder — one packet of Palcohol can contain up to 60 percent alcohol by volume, which is more than six times as much as a can of beer. Uninformed drinkers, regardless of age, may be unaware of how much alcohol they are really consuming. These drinker-friendly pouches may not turn out as friendly when they get people stumbling all over the place.

Introducing Palcohol as easy and fun to use without the hassle of buying mixers makes this an appealing product to anyone. But alcohol is already glamorized by the appealing commercials on national television. This country does not need to promote the use of another harmful substance. Adolescents and young adults will always find ways to access substances they aren’t supposed to — but adding another one to the list is not going to solve the problem.

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