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NY Sobering Up On Sales Of Alcoholic Energy Drinks

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Four Loko (credit: Getty Images)

Four Loko (credit: Getty Images)

davecarlin Dave Carlin
Dave Carlin serves as a reporter for CBS 2 News and covers breaking...
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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — They’re the most controversial beverages on store shelves, and four states have already banned them. Now, New York is cracking down on alcoholic energy drinks.

It’s not a ban, but it’s the closest thing to it, reports CBS 2′s Dave Carlin.

It’s a victory for those seeking to get alcoholic energy drinks, including Four Loko and Joose, off store shelves in New York State.

“Major beverage distributers in this state have agreed not to send Four Loko juice and other drinks that combine caffeine and alcohol to our supermarkets, bodegas and other stores,” Senator Charles Schumer said.

Senator Schumer told CBS 2 he got the news Saturday night that distributors bowed to pressure form the State Liquor Authority, and will voluntarily yank the controversial drinks, nicknamed “blackout in a can” and “liquid cocaine.”

However, the Liquor Authority did not impose an outright ban.

“I still think they have to do the ban, and I’m going to push them to do it,” Schumer said.

Supporters of fruity-flavored Four Loko and similar caffeine and booze blends compare the drinks to strong alcoholic mixed drinks like rum and cokes or Irish coffees.

Doctors, though, warn the drinks pack the power of several beers and a tall cup of strong coffee in a single can. The caffeine also keeps the drinker awake to keep consuming more, sometimes with tragic results.

In August, 17-year-old Nicole Celestino of Long Island died of cardiac arrhythmia after family members say she took a diet pill and drank Four Loko.

Many college campuses across the country have banned the drinks, including Ramapo College in New Jersey.

Michigan was the first state to impose an outright ban, and Washington, Utah and Oklahoma soon followed suit.

Schumer said that until New York gets a ban, the beer distributors are doing the responsible thing.

“It’s rare that an industry – interested in profit, of course – will forgo that profit for the common good,” Schumer said. “It happened tonight, and that’s a very good thing for New Yorkers.”

Schumer wants the Food and Drug Administration to weigh in on the beverages as soon as possible.

Distributors have agreed to voluntarily clear their inventory of alcoholic energy drinks by December 10.

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