Palcohol, or powdered alcohol, is expected to hit the shelves this summer as it just received approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
But many states have already banned Palcohol over fears that it will make alcohol abuse too easy. Some critics are saying the ability to conceal the powder into venues, schools, colleges as well as snort it could lead to extreme abuse of the substance.
“As a parent, it’s one thing to patrol for cases of beer or bottles of booze,” said ABC News chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser, who is also a pediatrician. “But having to look for little packets, I worry that it could lead to more underage drinking, making it easier.”
He said he wasn’t happy with the federal approval and explained there isn’t much the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can do it about it right away. The FDA can only take products like this off shelves if they find a problem, he said, which is what happened with alcoholic energy drinks called Four Loko.
Here are a few questions ABC News viewers asked Besser on Twitter:
How do you use it?
You stir a packet of Palcohol into six ounces of liquid, according to Lipsmark, the company that owns Palcohol. To dissolve, it takes a minute of constant stirring, so it wouldn’t be easy to spike someone’s drink without them knowing, according to the company.
What’s the point?
Lipsmark says Palcohol was dreamed up for people who love the outdoors but don’t want to travel with heavy alcohol containers — such as people who are going camping.
Does it come in flavors?
Yes. It comes in vodka, rum, cosmopolitan, “Powderita” (a margarita flavor) and lemon drop. All but lemon drop were approved this week.
How about the calorie content?
It’s 80 calories per bag, but some are sweetened, Lipsmark said. So a completed drink’s calories depend on the mixers added to it.
Is anyone against it?
Yes. Several states, including Alaska, Louisiana, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia want to prohibit the sale of powdered alcohol.
Can you sneak it into sports and concert venues?
Critics fear that people will sneak the packets into sporting venues, concert halls and schools.
But Lipsmark says the 4-by-6 inch packet would be larger than a small bottle of liquid and therefore harder to sneak in. But they acknowledge when there’s a will, there’s a way — but that’s the case with any alcohol, not just the powdered variety.
Can you snort it?
Lipsmark says the potential to snort Palcohol has been one of the complaints it’s heard, but that Palcohol would be hard to snort. Not only does it have the burn of alcohol, but it would take an hour to snort a “shot” of vodka, according to the company’s statement this week addressing concerns about the product.