We have powdered coffees, powdered juices, powdered soups, powdered eggs, powdered milk.
Why not powdered alcohol? After all, it’s light, portable and convenient.
But we’ll abuse it, two Ohio lawmakers say.
Alaska and South Carolina already have banned the substance, and New York, Vermont and Minnesota have pending legislation to do the same.
“The potential for abuse of this product far outweighs any value it may have in the marketplace,” Gerberry said in a news release.
“The public health risk of powdered alcohol is too great for our state to ignore,” Buchy said in the same release. “We have to do our part in putting forth reasonable laws that protect our children and prevent the availability of drug forms that have a higher potential for abuse.”
Their concerns mirror those of U.S. Sen.Chuck Schumer, D-New York, who asked the Food and Drug Administration to ban it.
In April, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which regulates taxing and labeling of alcohol products, approved seven flavors of Palcohol. It then temporarily rescinded those approvals because of a technical issue with the package fill levels. Palcohol made some changes and resubmitted the labels for approval.
According to Schumer, the FDA supersedes the TTB approval in the presence of significant health concerns.
He said “experts” should “step in before this mind-boggling product, surely to become the Kool-Aid of teen binge drinking, sees the light of day” and “stop this potentially deadly product in its tracks” to avoid the “hospitalizations and death that are likely to follow.”
Nonsense, says its inventor.
According to the Palcohol website, Mark Phillips does a lot of camping, hiking and biking, but he didn’t want to lug around heavy bottles of alcohol. “Wouldn’t it be great to have alcohol in powder form so all one had to do is add water?” he asked.
But there wasn’t anything like that on the market, so Phillips invented it.
Gerberry says the lightweight packets easily could be concealed and smuggled into places where alcohol is prohibited — school events, for example. He also thinks it could be “snorted through the nose to get an intense high.”
Not so, says the Palcohol website. It claims snorting the product would be painful — because it’s alcohol — and impractical, because it would take an hour to snort the equivalent of one shot of vodka.
Lipsmark LLC, the owner of Palcohol, intends it to be sold only in liquor stores and only to those of legal drinking age.
They believe it should be treated, regulated and taxed just like liquid alcohol. California already regulates powder alcohol.
But Buchy thinks the form will make it easier to abuse and use illegally. “What makes this more onerous is that it’s a powdered form that can be concentrated,” he said. “You can take two or three packets and put them into water to make the dosage stronger.”
Gary Robinson, regulatory counsel for Lipsmark, the maker of Palcohol, said attempts to ban it are “misguided.”
“It has numerous benefits that seriously should be considered before any agency or legislative body contemplates an outright ban on this product,” he said in letter posted on the company website. “Simply because it is a novel product does not mean that it should be prohibited.”
HB 594 was introduced Monday and has not yet been assigned to a committee.