Saturday, December 13, 2008

I need my alcospeed fix

A North Carolina man wants to force a brewing company to stop peddling alcoholic energy drinks -- and he's joined forces with a nanny-state outfit that makes its bones trying to get the government to limit the range of food and beverages from which people can choose.

According to the Wilson Times:

Mike Sprinkle wants to sue the company that produces an alcoholic energy drink he says nearly killed his daughter this summer.

Sprinkle said that on the night of July 20, his 23-year-old daughter, Amanda, drank half a can of orange-flavored Sparks, an alcoholic energy drink made by MillerCoors, at their Wiggins Mill Road home then suddenly collapsed at her computer desk.

Amanda's eyes had rolled back, Sprinkle recalled, and she had no pulse. It was only after he performed CPR on her and took her to Wilson Medical Center that she was later determined to be fine.

He says doctors pointed out the energy drink as a likely culprit.

"Honestly, if I hadn't been sitting there that night, she probably would have died," Sprinkle said.

Since then, Sprinkle has been unsuccessfully trying to organize a class action lawsuit against MillerCoors for producing Sparks, a 6 percent alcohol energy drink sold by the company. According to the MillerCoors Web site, the drink comes in three flavors - original, light and plus - and contains the stimulants caffeine and guarana, not normally used in alcoholic beverages.

Sprinkle's efforts to protect his adult daughter from her taste in beverages brought him to the doors of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. CSPI filed a lawsuit against MillerCoors back in September in an effort to get the courts to cut off the tap on Sparks.

Drinkers of caffeinated alcoholic drinks are more likely to binge drink, ride with an intoxicated driver, become injured, or be taken advantage of sexually than drinkers of non-caffeinated alcoholic drinks, according to a 2007 study conducted at Wake Forest University. ...

"MillerCoors is trying to hook teens and ’tweens on a dangerous drink," said CSPI litigation director Steve Gardner. "This company’s behavior is reckless, predatory, and in the final analysis, likely to disgust a judge or a jury."

Gardner coined the term "alcospeed" to refer to drinks that blend alcohol with stimulants such as caffeine. You may prefer other terms though, like "Irish Coffee," which, according to one recipe, consists of:

1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey
1 tsp brown sugar
6 oz hot coffee
heavy cream

Combine whiskey, sugar and coffee in a mug and stir to dissolve. Float cold cream gently on top. Do not mix.

That sounds far tastier, though possibly less healthy, than Sparks. It's probably more alcoholic, and possible more stimulating, than the caffeinated beer. Rum and coke would do the job, too. So "alcospeed" is nothing new, whatever the CSPI says.

But that's beside the point. The choice of what to consume or not consume is a personal one, to be made individually -- not by judges and politicians under pressure from presumptuous activist groups who would make our decisions for us.

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Blogger Divemedic said...

Actually, it is far more likely that the girl passed out, and the father panicked. I run on many calls where a scared family member could not find a pulse, but there in fact was a pulse present.

It is rare for CPR alone to save a patient in cardiac arrest. Since, according to the article, he drove the girl to the hospital, I imagine that he "saved" her prior to driving her there.

December 13, 2008 6:47 PM  

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