Many of you may have been following the movement on the powdered alcohol front in recent months. As the Legislature has made moves to regulate the product, many voices – several of them yours – said it would be better to not see powdered alcohol on the shelves at all.
We believe that powdered alcohol presents a unique set of risks that we haven’t seen since alcoholic energy drinks were introduced in 2005. Unfortunately, alcoholic energy drinks are a prime example of waiting too late to act. Though many public health and policy experts expressed concerns about the dangers of the product, it still found its way to the shelves. The availability of this product, similar to powdered alcohol in youth appeal, resulted in extreme misuse and overconsumption among young drinkers. Unfortunately, it took several young people losing their lives or getting seriously injured before the government decided to act and pull the product. Had alcoholic energy drinks been banned outright, as many experts agreed they should have been, the tragic loss of lives could have been prevented.
Due to our concerns about powdered alcohol, we’ve recently spent a lot of time educating lawmakers and the public about the potential dangers of this product. The bottom line is that powdered alcohol is easy to misuse, conceal, and overconsume. The packets are so small it would be easy for a teen to carry the equivalent of a 30-pack their makeup bag or a 6-pack in their pocket. Alcoholic products that pose this level of danger to our youth require that we be more proactive than reactive; we must act now to prevent harm to our youth instead of waiting to respond once tragedies have already occurred.
We believe the effort to regulate powdered alcohol is well-intentioned and aimed at protecting the health and safety of Texas children. But right now, powdered alcohol is not in the marketplace or black market; regulation would open the door for sales and easy youth access to a product that youth could easily conceal, misuse, or overconsume. As parents, community members, and state leaders concerned about the health and safety of our youth, our efforts should focus on making alcohol products less, not more, available to them. We should not be altering the definition of alcohol to include a powdered version so a company can make a quick buck at the expense of our kids.
As it is, we know that alcohol is the most used substance by youth in Texas, with more than half of middle and high school students saying they have used alcohol at some point in their lifetime. We also know that youth use of alcohol is linked to several serious consequences, such as traffic crashes and fatalities, DUI arrests, poor academic performance, increased dropout rates, unintended pregnancies, and violent crime. Given the number of existing issues that make it challenging enough to protect the lives of our youth, why add another set of completely preventable issues to the list with powdered alcohol?
After the current legislative session ends on May 30, 2017, we will provide a session overview on powdered alcohol, as well as key next steps you can take to keep it off the shelves. In the meantime, to learn more about powdered alcohol and what you can do to protect our youth from the substance, contact Sachin Kamble at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512.442.7501, or visit us online at www.TexansStandingTall.org.