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FDA May Crackdown On ‘Blackout In A Can’

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Aired 11/17/10

The drinks referred to as blackout in a can are under scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration. The agency may crack down on caffeinated alcohol beverages soon. Some San Diego retailers have begun pulling the drinks off of their shelves.

— The drinks referred to as "blackout in a can" are under scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration. The agency may crack down on caffeinated alcohol beverages soon. The products have been linked to injuries and deaths among college students. Some San Diego retailers have begun pulling the drinks off of their shelves.

Cans of Four Loko are seen in the liquor department of a Kwik Stop store on October 27, 2010 in Miami, Florida.
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Above: Cans of Four Loko are seen in the liquor department of a Kwik Stop store on October 27, 2010 in Miami, Florida.

The most popular caffeinated alcohol drink is called Four Loko. It's sold in 23 ounce cans. Each can contains almost five times the amount of alcohol as a 12-ounce beer, and as much caffeine as two cups of coffee.

Dr. Shawn Evans works in the ER at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla. He said these drinks can get someone drunk in a hurry.

"When you add caffeine to it, you're far more likely to take that individual and keep them energized and drinking longer," Dr. Evans said. "And essentially what you're doing is you're igniting or invigorating a drunk."

Four states and many college campuses have banned Four Loko. California Attorney General Jerry Brown has asked the FDA to take action.

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