High-powered Four Loko drink causes concern on campuses

Four Loko is an alcoholic energy drink that has been in the news recently for causing young drinkers to black out and end up in the hospital.

Mercyhurst College’s first incident with Four Loko occurred on Saturday.

A female student in Warde Hall passed out and was sent to the hospital, according to Lieutenant Matthew Platz.

Chief of Police Robert Kuhn said the student had reportedly drunk two beers and one Four Loko before she passed out.

The 23.5 ounce can of Four Loko contains 12 percent alcohol.

Drinking one can of Four Loko is similar to drinking five cans of beer or one bottle of wine, Kuhn said.

“That stuff is bad news,” he said.

Kuhn said the mix of caffeine and alcohol in the drink causes problems because it affects the body in two different ways at the same time.

Kuhn expressed his concern that male students will try to take advantage of females while they are intoxicated.

“I’m just worried about guys having girls drink it at a party,” he said.

He wanted to remind students that intoxicated people cannot give legal consent. Therefore a man taking advantage of a woman while she is intoxicated would be considered rape.

Nine Central Washington University students were hospitalized after drinking Four Loko, a story now receiving national attention.

Currently, Four Loko is not widely available in Erie.

Employees at Wine & Spirits Stores, 737 E. 38th St., Grandview Beer 4 Less, 1303 E. Grandview Blvd., and Beer & Pop Discount Warehouse, 901 Peninsula Drive, each said they are not yet selling the beverage.

“We’ve been getting requests, more from college students than anyone else, I’d say,” said Zach Hathorn, an employee at Beer & Pop Discount Warehouse. “Whoever had it on your campus must have got it somewhere else.”