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Fuck the Four

Look at these bright pretty colors. No good can come from this.

When nine students were hospitalized at Central Washington University earlier this month, officials assumed it was the usual suspects; namely some mixture of date rape drugs and other illegal substances. But as it turns out, the culprit was and is completely legal: Four Loko, the unholy and ridiculously potent fruit-flavored love child of booze and caffeinated soda, sometimes affectionately referred to as the Four Horsemen (caffeine, guarana, taurine, and alcohol).

It’s no coincidence that word on the street is that all of the convenience stores in the Universit of Oregon campus area sold out of their stock of the stuff on the night of the freshman riots that ended in tear-gassing. The students at CWU were rushed to the emergency room with blood alcohol levels ranging from 0.123 to .35. To put it in perspective, anyone blowing a .08 is considered legally drunk, and .3 is considered potentially lethal.

One 24 oz. can of the stuff is 12% alcohol by volume – about four to six beers worth – which puts it on par with even the bummiest of bum wines. Some of the students were even stupid enough to mix it with additional alcohol, according to CWU President James L. Gaudino.

On first sips, all the stimulants help to numb the quaffer to the effects of the hooch. Once the effects wear off, though, the booze – which is metabolized more slowly by the liver – kicks in with a vengeance. It put 23 New Jersey students in the ER last month for the same reason (we didn’t care about them as much, though, because the law of averages predicted that at least a few of them must have been guidos).

Washingon’s attorney general is pushing for the Food and Drug Administration to ban the stuff after a state effort fizzled out earlier this year. Instead of forcing legislation, policy makers should be doing more to educate younger, more inexperienced drinkers about responsible drinking. Remember the first time you drank an entire fifth of Johnny Walker Red and collapsed in a gutter in a pool of your own vomit because you didn’t know any better? Me either. Funny how that works. But we live and we learn.

Most alcohol awareness efforts put on by schools rely almost entirely on scare tactics and “just say no” to get their point across. Abstinence-only education, even as it applies to drinking, just doesn’t work. Simply telling people – indignant freshman, nonetheless – that they can’t have something because it’s bad isn’t going to help. Likewise, outlawing it may just extenuate the “forbidden fruit” mentality.

This isn’t to say that if we just teach kids about responsible drinking that they won’t get piss drunk and get rushed to the emergency room – it, however, make them less likely to accidentally do it out of inexperience when they don’t plan to.

But seriously, just stay away from the Four, anyway. That stuff tastes like day-glow watermelon ass. You’re better than that.

  1. Betz says:

    Just had an afterthought ….

    You could use Barbarossa, and call the event “RUM-Springa” (nyuk nyuk)

  2. Betz says:

    The funny thing about this whole National media story is that, at the end of the day, a bunch of college students just got really drunk. Its almost a story the Onion would headline: “College students get totally wasted at frat party, Can’t remember anything the next day.”

    A buddy of mine has been swearing by this stuff and telling me I should try one for a long time now – several months before this story came out. The stuff just sounded vile from the get-go … I’m sure most students would rather drink something else (one would hope), but that they are just trying to optimize their “bang for the buck” ratio.

    If you really want to curb the binge drinking on campus, you need to go old school. Some relatives and family friends my parents age used to smoke, and when they got caught smoking, their parents would make them smoke the entire pack; it would make them sick as dogs, and it usually worked. Thats how I would like to see DPS classes presented – you pair off with a buddy, you get a bottle of the crappiest vodka known to man, and you can’t leave until you finish the thing. Of course, they should make you do some realistic challenges, like and obstacle course, afterwards – running up stairs, weaving a tricycle in between cones, etc. Guaranteed it would make you puke and leave you feeling shitty. Administrators and educators take note – the best way to teach moderation is enforced overindulgence; once you experience the edge, you won’t want to return.

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