Senator Jeff Klein is continuing his fight against the sales of potent alcoholic beverages to minors.
The distribution of Four Loko, Joose and other caffeinated-alcoholic beverages had become popular throughout the country, but was banned in the State in November 2010 after the state Liquor Authority determined the health and safety concerns of the product.
During the same month, Senate Alcohol and Drug Abuse Committee chairman Senator Klein and his staff conducted an undercover sting operation involving the illegal sales of the caffeinated alcoholic beverages to minors in the Bronx, issuing 11 violations throughout the borough.
In December 2010, the 11 to 12 percent alcohol by volume Four Loko products were re-released in New York by manufacturer Phusion Projects LLC without the caffeine, guarana and taurine, however, the sales to minors in Bronx convenience stores continued.
Last week, Senator Klein, along with the 45th, 47th and 49th precincts, re-launched an investigation to crack down on sales to minors and out of 23 bodegas and convenience stores investigated, an overwhelming 17 were issued violations for sales to an undercover minor.
On Sunday, March 27, Klein was joined by public health advocates from across the state to propose new legislation that would eliminate the easy access that minors have to the high-alcoholic beverages.
“The results of these investigations clearly show that Four Loko, or any other type of these deceptive drinks, are still too easy for teens to get their hands on,” Klein said. “It is time for us to take the necessary steps to get these dangerous cocktails off the shelves to save our teens from any injury or harm.”
Senator Klein’s plans include completely banning these alcoholic beverages from the state. In some instances, police officers have even found the caffeinated Four Loko still being sold in convenience stores despite the ban of the older version in New York.
According to Senator Klein, the problem is not only the sale of the product to minors, it is the sale of the product in general, and he believes the only way to eliminate the threat of the sale to minors is to completely end sales of Four Loko, Joose, or any other similar high alcohol flavored beverages in the state.
“In my district, there has been way too many instances of minors being hospitalized for the consumption of these beverages,” Klein said. “They generally have a history of being aggressively marketed to minors.”
The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Committee will be holding a hearing on Tuesday, April 12 about the dangers of these high alcohol containing products and the rising trend of underage drinking.