Have you heard of the new alcohol that comes in a powder? It’s called ‘Palcohol,’ and not all states are so accepting of this new product. In fact, powdered alcohol is becoming illegal already in some states, including the state of New York. 
On August 14, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation banning “palcohol,” freeze-dried alcohol that comes in packaged form. The Governor called the products “a public health disaster waiting to happen.”
The state enacted the ban over concerns that, due to powdered alcohol’s portable nature, it could be easily accessed by underage youths. Palcohol’s creator Mark Phillips claims powdered alcohol and similar powdered alcohol products are actually safer than liquid alcohol, and warns that banning the substance will create a black market for it, making it even easier for kids to get their hands on.
Phillips says New York caved to pressure from liquor company lobbyists.
“Businesses and individuals are eager to use it but legislators are blocking them for no apparent reason other than to protect the profits and market share of the liquor companies,” he claims. “All the assertions legislators have made about Palcohol are wrong. Remember, they have never seen or tried Palcohol. They don’t know anything about the packaging, pricing or marketing. They’re just making stuff up. And to make a decision about a product they know nothing about is irresponsible.”
Powdered alcohol was legalized in the U.S. earlier this year. Experts immediately began raising concerns that packets of the substance could be smuggled into places where alcohol is prohibited, or abused by young people, especially since the products come in flavors that might be appealing to youths.
Experts are also concerned that because the alcohol is powdered, teens may ingest larger quantities of it or mix it with other drugs. It’s important to note, however, that it’s unlikely people will start snorting the powder because it would burn the inside of the nose. It would also form a gel-like substance in the mouth and become very gummy.
Henry Spiller, director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told LiveScience in March that he is concerned that parents might not lock up the packets as they would bottles of alcohol. “We see a million children poisoned a year just from stuff around the house,” Spiller said. “We’re afraid these packages may be on the kitchen counter, somewhere available like that.”
A young child who gets a hold of a packet of powdered alcohol could wind up consuming as much as a shot of alcohol, though probably not much more than that, as the experience would be quite unpleasant.
Brandon Korman, chief of neuropsychology at Miami Children’s Hospital, says there is no evidence to suggest that powdered alcohol is any more dangerous that liquid alcohol, and added that it is the responsibility of parents to keep such products locked up and away from children.
“Alcohol by itself definitely has its own share of traps and hazards,” Korman said. But “I don’t see this yet as any more or less dangerous” than liquid alcohol, Korman said.
Featured image courtesy of NBC Washington