Alcoholic drinks are being marketed like — and made to look like — energy drinks in order to attract underage drinkers, a New York lawmaker said Sunday.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the makers of beverages like Four Loko and Joose, pointing out their use of nearly identical packaging to that of energy drinks can make it difficult for parents to tell the difference.
The offending drinks contain up to 12 percent alcohol per volume — two to three times the amount of alcohol in one can of beer — and high levels of caffeine. Mixing alcohol and caffeine can be extremely dangerous for teens.
"Our parents and law enforcement are doing everything they can to keep alcohol out of the hands of teens, but it becomes a difficult task when beverage makers create and market a product that seems like an everyday energy drink," Schumer said.
"The marketing of drinks Four Loko, Joose, and others like them lead one to believe that manufacturers are trying to mislead legal-age adults while actively courting underage drinkers.
"This is dishonest, irresponsible, and wrong. It's time for the FTC to immediately turn their attention to these products and address this problem once and for all."