Michigan wants to remain powdered alcohol-free after the state's House of Representative voted last Oct. 13, in favor of Senate Bill 240, banning Palcohol 102-3 from their markets.
Palcohol is powdered alcohol and if dissolved in water can create an instant alcoholic drink. Lipsmark LLC, the company that makes the product, claims that Palcohol is safer to use and more portable than regular alcoholic drinks.
"In my opinion there is no legitimate use for powdered alcohol," said Sen. Rick Jones, the author of the bill. The senator also said that there is potential for others to abuse the powder and make stronger alcoholic drinks. "Powdered alcohol could be easily abused, even without a person's knowledge."
If the bill is signed into law, Michigan will be joining Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana, South Carolina and Vermont in states that prohibits the possession and distribution of powdered alcohol. Currently, Minnesota, Colorado, New York and Ohio are also considering banning it too, even if the product has yet to arrive in stores.
"There are very serious concerns about the illegal use of powdered alcohol by young people, possibly even bringing it into schools or other events and locations that prohibit alcohol consumption," New York State Senator Joseph Griffo said.
Lipsmark LCC defended their product, saying that contrary to the lawmakers' assumptions, Palcohol is not easier to sneak into venues as liquid alcohol, cannot be snorted and will be treated as an alcoholic product, thus not allowed to be purchased by underage individuals.
The manufacturer got a less scrutinizing opinion from Brandon Korman of Miami Children's Hospital. Korman said that while powdered alcohol could have the same risks that liquid alcohol presents, it is not a reason to ban it from the market.
"I don't see this (powdered alcohol) yet as any more or less dangerous (than liquid alcohol)," Korman said. He added that, just like any other dangerous substances, anyone will find ways to abuse it, so it is the parents' responsibility to keep powdered alcohol out of their children's reach.
The arguments that defend why powdered alcohol should not be banned does little to reassure other health care experts that the product does not pose a huge risk, particularly to young children.
"Youths are going to be very vulnerable to (abusing the product)," said Dr. Scott Krakower, Assistant unit chief of psychiatry from the Zucker Hillside Hospital in New York, pointing out that teens who are responsible for mixing their own drinks this way can ingest more alcohol than expected.
Despite the company's warning that powdered alcohol is not for sniffing and is painful to snort, Krakower still believed that people will snort it, because it comes in powdered form.
Photo: Paul Joseph | Flickr