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Massachusetts State Regulators To Ban Four Loko Sales

By William N. White, Crimson Staff Writer

Update 10:10 p.m.

Massachusetts regulators will soon restrict sales of caffeinated alcoholic beverages, including the popular Four Loko brand drinks.

WBZ-TV first reported the sale of malt beverages containing caffeine or other stimulants will be banned by the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, which had announced an inquiry into such drinks in an advisory last Friday.

The news comes after Harvard College administrators took a stand against the drink, with one calling it “badness in a can.”

In late October, University Health Services Director David S. Rosenthal ’59 and Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Services Director Ryan M. Travia cautioned students against consuming the drink, which they said has been linked to hospitalizations of students around the country due to its potent mix of caffeine and alcohol—as much as six beers in one 23.5 ounce can.

“Drinking alcohol with energy drinks is dangerous, given the inherent risk in mixing alcohol, a depressant, with stimulants such as caffeine, ginseng, guaran, and other additives,” the administrators wrote in the email. “Often, stimulants mask the depressant effects of the alcohol, allowing the person to consume even more alcohol and thus, delaying feelings of drunkenness.”

Phusion Products, which manufactures Four Loko, has consistently defended the safety of its product and said it promotes safe drinking.

—Staff writer William N. White can be reached at

—Check for updates.

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