Alcohol Justice, an alcohol industry watchdog organization, is asking for an emergency ban in California on the sale of powdered and crystalline alcohol products, such as Palcohol, to prevent additional alcohol-related harm to young people.
“California is the largest alcohol market in the U.S. and suffers the most alcohol-related harm,” stated Michael Scippa, Director of Public Affairs at Alcohol Justice. “Every year we lose nearly 10,000 lives and over $22 billion dollars to alcohol-related harm. Palcohol and other powdered or crystalline alcohol products will bring huge dangers to young people in California.”
A letter from the organization delivered to California legislators provides a litany of the organization’s health and safety concerns associated with powdered or crystalline alcohol: low cost; easy youth access to the packets; similar size and shape of packets to nonalcoholic children’s drink packets; potential mixing with a small amount of water to make a single very potent drink; mixing powdered alcohol with beer or alcopops; mixing powdered alcohol with energy drinks or other youth-oriented products; concealment by underage drinkers attending events/locations where alcohol is prohibited; ingestion of the product by snorting or eating, and easy theft.
The Alcohol Justice request for emergency legislative action is a response to news late last week that the U.S. Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) approved labels for the powdered alcohol product, Palcohol. The TTB approval gives a green light to begin marketing it wherever it’s legal. The letter states that five states have already passed legislation to ban powdered and crystalline alcohol products, another has a regulatory prohibition in place, and at least 14 other states are considering bills to ban these dangerous products. But California is currently not yet one of those states considering a bill.
The letter asks for new emergency legislation in 2015, to amend Title 18 of the California Code of Regulations, Article 6, Classification of Particular Beverages, Regulation 2557, concerning Powdered Distilled Spirits. The amendment sought would ban powdered or crystalline distilled spirits in California.
“We agree with New York Senator Chuck Schumer who said Palcohol “will become the ‘Kool-Aid’ of teenage binge drinking’ and it will lead to acute alcohol poisoning and death,” said Bruce Lee Livingston, Executive Director / CEO of Alcohol Justice. “The sense of urgency is real, we need our elected state leaders to take action this year to keep this public health and safety threat out of California.”