When nine Central Washington University students overdosed at a house party earlier this month in Roslyn, police feared the worst. Was it drugs? Poison? Some combination of the two? The DEA even offered to help test the blood and urine of the 50 or so freshman drinking at the off-campus rager. But at a press conference this morning, investigators finally revealed the real culprit: Four Loko, the aptly-named alcoholic energy drink.
If you've never had a Four Loko there are a couple things you need to know about it. One, it's both cheap and effective: a single 23-ounce can will only set you back $3, yet it has the alcoholic equivalent of five or six caffeinated beers. And two, it tastes terrible: imagine a can full of Thor's piss after the Norse god has just chugged some Dimetapp.
The house where the students got Loko.
Cle Elum Police Chief Scott Ferguson says that not only were the students drinking the crazy-in-a-can, they were also spiking it with rum and vodka. Questionable mixology that led to blood-alcohol levels ranging from the seriously soused (.12) to the perilously-close-to-death (.35).
"Everything was going fine, the music was playing, people were having fun - and then all of a sudden all the girls were puking everywhere," said a partygoer at the time. "Girls were outside on their backs."
Attorney General Rob McKenna, who was also at the press conference, says he'll be bringing his concerns about the drink -- concerns he says he's had since 2007 -- to the FDA. And he's not alone.
Last month, the University of Miami's student newspaper devoted an entire cover story to the dangers of Four Loko. Last week, the president of New Jersey's Ramapo College banned the drink from campus. And regulators from Montana to Michigan are investigating whether the drink properly markets itself as both a stimulant and a depressant.