Should You Be Worried About Your Teen and Powdered Alcohol?

vodkaPowdered alcohol has made headlines recently after a brand’s controversial April 8th label approval by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. But what’s the real story behind “Palcohol,” and could it really be sold in stores as early as this Fall?

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau did grant Palcohol label approval on April 8th of this year, but rescinded it only 13 days later, citing the original approval as a “mistake.” Even if the label approval does eventually go through, which it might after the company re-submits an updated label, Palcohol could still never see shelves if the FDA overrules the TTB – which it can do if it deems the boozy powders to pose a significant health concern. And according to US Sen. Charles Schumer, this “ludicrous product” poses an obvious health risk, and he begs the FDA to “immediately step in” and investigate Palcohol.

“It can be sprinkled on food and even snorted…What’s to stop a bad individual from sprinkling powdered alcohol into someone’s lunch or dinner when they’re not looking? This can be really dangerous,” Schumer argued at a press conference on Sunday.

But beyond the choices of the most ill-intentioned adults holding these powder packets, what about teens, who are notorious for experimenting with innovative, though reckless ways to discreetly consume alcohol? Especially in the wake of the 2010 NYC ban on the wildly popular caffeine + alcohol beverage Four Loko, Schumer worries that Palcohol could become the new “Kool-Aid of teenage binge drinking.”

The product, which comes in a variety of flavors from Kamikazee to Cosmo, is marketed for being easy to consume cheaply and discreetly, either mixed with water or sprinkled on food. And yes, even snorted. Though a new, cleaner version of their website claims that the powder would be painful to snort, that doesn’t mean that teens (and adults!) won’t try it. The website also claims that Palcohol won’t be snorted because “It's impractical. It takes approximately 60 minutes to snort the equivalent of one shot of vodka. Why would anyone do that when they can do a shot of liquid vodka in two seconds?”

To that, we ask the makers of Palcohol, why would you eat a spoonful on cinnamon and videotape it when you know you’ll cough, gag, or vomit? Why would you pour alcohol into your eyeball to get drunk? Because teens, and adults, will try crazy things—so just because snorting Palcohol may not be an efficient way to get drunk, that doesn’t mean teens won’t try it.

“Palcohol is nearly guaranteed to promote unsafe drinking among teenagers and young adults, among others,” Schumer said, and we have to agree with him. Are you concerned about your teens using Palcohol? Do you think the FDA should step in? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.