March 13, 2015 -- The powdered alcohol product known as Palcohol may be available on store shelves this summer. Some health officials are concerned it will only worsen underage drinking.
Federal regulators with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved the new product this week. Five states have banned sales of powdered alcohol, and 28 states have proposed laws this year to ban or regulate it.
In the U.S., about 5,000 people under age 21 die each year due to alcohol-related accidents, homicides, suicides, and injuries, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Mark Phillips, the creator of Palcohol, doesn't see what the fuss over his product is about. He calls efforts to outlaw it the work of those who want a ''nanny state."
What Is Palcohol?
It's a powdered, freeze-dried version of common drinks. It includes rum, vodka, a Cosmopolitan, and a “powderita,” Phillips' version of a margarita.
Each pouch-like package weighs about an ounce. Along with the powdered alcohol, it also includes natural flavorings and the sweetener sucralose. You add water or a mixer to the package and shake it to create an average-sized mixed drink. By itself, the powder has about 80 calories a package. One packet equals one shot of alcohol, according to Palcohol’s web site.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, a division of the U.S. Treasury Department, worked with the FDA to approve the product, says Tom Hogue, a spokesman for the bureau. The bureau reviews the formulation and labeling of distilled spirits products. The FDA reviews the non-alcoholic ingredients.
The FDA doesn't have concerns about those ingredients at this time, says Theresa Eisenman, a spokeswoman for the agency.
Hogue says that states ''have very broad authority to regulate the sale of alcohol within their borders.”
Powdered alcohol will trigger abuse by young people, says Scott Krakower, DO, assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, N.Y. "I think it's going to appeal to adolescents and will potentially be harmful," he says.
The easy-to-carry product may also tempt people in recovery from alcoholism, he says, since the package seems simple to conceal. He fears some people will try to snort it, which he views as especially dangerous due to choking hazards. Some may combine powdered alcohol with other drugs, such as heroin, he says.
source : Palcohol: Risky for Teens and People in Recovery?