HICKSVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Sen. Charles Schumer is proposing legislation to ban powdered alcohol and calling on retailers to boycott its sale when the product hits stores as early as next month.
Schumer cites what he calls the “already massive problem of underage drinking,” drunken driving and other alcohol-related crime on Long Island.
Schumer said powdered alcohol can be mixed with water, sprinkled on food and is easily concealed.
“And you can snort it!” the lawmaker added. “When you drink a beer you have to consume a lot of liquid to get the alcohol content, but when you have this (holds up packet), you have pure alcohol.”
Palcohol’s parent company Lipsmark disagrees, saying it would be painful to snort and will be sold under the same restrictions as liquid alcohol.
A father and son on Long Island, however, are standing by Schumer in his call for a ban, CBS 2’s Dana Tyler reported.
“I basically went from living at home with my parents to being homeless on the street trying to feed my habit,” said James Healion, of Centerport.
At just 21 years old, Healion is a recovering addict. He says he’s just glad for the chance to celebrate his 22nd birthday on Wednesday. This after he nearly died from a battle with addiction that started when he began drinking at age 12, Tyler reported.
“James survived and it wasn’t always easy,” James’ dad Kevin said. “He was on the floors sometimes.”
Kevin said he had to resuscitate his son several times following drug and alcohol seizures. It’s why the pair have come out against Palcohol.
James told Tyler he would have been the first to find a way around the 21-year-old age restriction in order to catch a quick buzz.
“Jackpot, that’s the first thought that would have come to my mind,” he said.
Others, however, call the proposed ban nanny government.
“Is there anyone getting sick? I don’t see why a ban is necessary,” said Plainview resident Jake Lucas. “I think powdered alcohol is stupid, but if that’s their fix.”
The line, which was dreamed up by Arizona wine expert Mark Phillips, would offer a bar full of products in packet form — including vodka, rum, cosmopolitans and lemon drop cocktails.
The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, approved Palcohol’s product labels — the last step after OK’ing both the distillery and formula.
The TTB later admitted the approval was a mistake and Lipsmark said the problem seemed to involve a discrepancy in the fill level of the powder in each bag.
“This doesn’t mean that Palcohol isn’t approved,” the company said on its website. “It just means that these labels aren’t approved. We will re-submit labels. We don’t have an expected approval date as label approval can vary widely.”
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