"Blackout in a Can" Popular at MSU

It's a problem making headlines and prompting bans across the country, and it's popular among college students here in Texoma. Alcoholic energy drinks are strong, cheap, easy to get and dangerous.

The drinks are being blamed for several serious incidents. One of the latest, the sickening of nine students at Central Washington University in early October. Students said they thought they were drugged.

The drinks are a combination malt liquor and energy drink. They can have an alcohol content as high as 12 percent and students who drink them can stay up partying a lot longer. Just one 24 ounce can has as much caffeine as a 12 ounce cup of coffee and nearly as much alcohol as a six pack of beer.

Many students at Midwestern State University said they see them at parties all the time. "People drink them more than they do just regular beer," said Daniel Rodriguez.

Students also said people frequently get sick and black out when drinking them. Matthew Rose said his roommate drinks "two of them every other weekend or so and she blacks out."

Colton Koenig said "I know plenty of people who have horror stories about, just like...I drank Four Lokos and blacked out or I got really sick off them." Four Loko was cited as the most popular brand of these drinks among MSU students.

Despite the dangers, many students at MSU said they don't see the drinks as a problem.

Thirty states, including Washington, are looking at banning the drinks. And, the Food and Drug Administration is asking companies that produce them to release safety information about combining alcohol and caffeine. The FDA has approved caffeine as an additive for soft drinks, but not alcoholic beverages.

Tim Barnosky, Newschannel 6.