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Concerns Grow Over Powdered Alcohol

April 22, 2014, 6:09 PM by Sammi Bjelland

Concerns Grow Over Powdered Alcohol
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

What if you could add a powder to water and make alcohol? That's the concept behind a new product called Palcohol.

Palcohol is creating a buzz online, but it's also causing some to worry about the potential dangers it could pose, especially for kids.

Palcohol isn't available in any stores, and it doesn't even have an approved patent yet.

However, it's creating a lot of controversy after the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau announced approval for the product earlier this month. That approval was surrendered this week, after TTB said there was an "error."

But the idea of such a powder is still concerning for some.

"Teens are traditionally risk takers. They're looking for new ways to get high, new ways to try different things. And my concern is it's going to get mixed with things it shouldn't be and are going to make the effects much greater," Christy Alten-Osmera, Adolescent Unit Program Director at Keystone Treatment Center, said.

According to the CDC, 11 percent of all alcohol is consumed by people 12 to 20 years old.

Palcohol's website says the product is strictly for people of legal age to use responsibly.

But Alten-Osmera with Keystone Adolescent Unit program in Canton says kids will find a way to use it.

"It's going to be easier to hide. Easier to traffic into places. There's a concern about unintentional exposure. You know, spiking the Kool-Aid, or putting it in someone's drink. That's always a concern when something can't be easily traced," Alten-Osmera said. 

Palcohol's website says the product will be available in one ounce packets that can be easily carried in a pocket or bag.

Alten-Osmera worries this could reverse years of work trying to curb teen drinking.

"They're saying that alcohol is a lot harder to get ahold of now too, so as the perceived risk goes up, it's harder to get ahold of and the use goes down. But this might throw a whole nother element to it," Alten-Osmera said.

The CDC says 39 percent of U.S. teens admit to drinking some amount of alcohol.

Palcohol will be releasing six versions of the powder to be sold in pouches that are equivalent to one shot of alcohol. The company hopes to start selling it this fall.

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