With a long statement:
I’m very concerned that nine Central Washington University students became dangerously ill after drinking hard alcohol mixed with energy drinks. Consensus among the medical community is growing: combining alcohol with energy drinks is a dangerous mix.
I am relieved that drugs were not secretly slipped into drinks, as many originally feared. However, I am concerned about the rapid market growth of pre-mixed alcohol energy drinks and their popularity with young people.
According to the United States Tobacco and Trade Bureau, alcohol is the nation’s number one drug problem among youth. It is involved in teen car crashes, homicides and suicides, the three leading causes of teen death. Adding caffeine or other stimulants may increase risk to teens because it inhibits the perception of being intoxicated and could mislead them into thinking they can drink more or drive.
Additionally, a leading study by the Wake Forest University School of Medicine found students who consumed alcohol with energy drinks were "twice as likely to be injured, twice as likely to require medical attention and twice as likely to ride with an intoxicated driver."
I approved the Liquor Control Board’s 2010 request for legislation (House Bill 2804 sponsored by Rep. Tami Green) that would have banned stimulant-enhanced products that are pre-mixed with alcohol. While that bill did not pass the Legislature, I have asked the board to continue to work this issue and recommend a solution.