Alcohol Justice is pleased to report the introduction of two bills to ban powdered alcohol in California, and the launching of the California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA). “Every year California loses nearly 10,000 lives and over $22 billion dollars to alcohol-related harm,” stated Richard Zaldivar, spokesperson for CAPA and Alcohol Justice. “Powdered alcohol products would add significantly to the danger, especially to young people. Our new statewide alliance, CAPA, is committed to passing these two bills to stop powdered alcohol.”
California bills AB 1554 (Irwin) and SB 819 (Huff) will create a powerful barrier to a chilling litany of health and safety concerns associated with powdered or crystalline alcohol:
- low cost
- easy youth access
- similar size and shape 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, vaping, smoking, or eating
- easy theft
“Powdered alcohol is designed for and marketed to those who want to drink illegally,” stated Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), who introduced the powdered alcohol ban in the Assembly (AB 1554).“Powdered alcohol can be easily concealed, which will make it nearly impossible to control who is drinking and where. We must act now to prevent the public health and safety risks that powdered alcohol will create,” said Irwin.
In March of 2014 Alcohol Justice requested emergency legislative action in California and nation wide in response to the U.S. Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) approval of labels for the powdered alcohol product, Palcohol. The TTB action gave a green light to begin marketing powdered alcohol, wherever legal. Since then, 25 states have permanently banned powdered alcohol. Two states have enacted temporary one-year statutory bans, and three states are regulating it under their existing alcohol statutes.
“Alcohol is already abused by underage kids and drinking responsibly is a challenge for many adults,” said Senator Bob Huff. “Adding powdered alcohol to this potent mix is akin to squirting gasoline on a wildfire. This is a problem that California does not need.”
“Two years ago, when talking about powdered alcohol, New York Senator Chuck Schumer said ‘Palcohol will become the Kool-Aid of teenage binge drinking and it will lead to acute alcohol poisoning and death,’ statedMihae Jung, Co-Chair of Los Angeles Drug and Alcohol Policy Alliance (LA DAPA). “We agree and the sense of urgency is real. We need California’s elected state leaders to take action this year to keep this public health and safety threat out of California.”
“California already has the largest alcohol industry in the nation. There is no reason to put another form of alcohol on the market, especially a flavored powder that will easily get into the hands of children,” said Kat DeBurgh, MPH, executive director of the Health Officers Association of California. “The time to act is now. Powdered alcohol will harm our communities, and should not be allowed to gain a foothold in California.”
[ Editor’s Note: Since we aliens are not familiar with the political systems of this planet, we do not have an opinion one way or the other on the effects of powdered alcohol on underage drinking. While you humans figure this issue out, we will be over here having a beer or three 😉 ]
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