A new product called Palcohol received a great deal of attention last week when media outlets reported the freeze-dried alcohol in powdered form received approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau.
More recently, a spokesman from the company released a statement that the approval was “issued in error”, but that hasn’t caused the conversation to die down. Palcohol is expected to hit shelves later this year.
Palcohol is an alcoholic drink mix that comes in four distinct flavors and is marketed as a drink that can be created just by adding water. The creator, Mark Philips, came up with the idea as a way to increase portability while decreasing costs, but the introduction of this mix has many concerned about the risk for abuse. Much of the concern surrounds the potential for misuse by individuals unaware of its potency or the risk of abuse. Since Palcohol is in a powder form, many have raised concern about the potential of abuse through inhalation. As is in the case of inhaling illicit drugs, snorting Palcohol would allow the substance to cross the blood-brain barrier rapidly, potentially leading to an immediate high. In addition, mixing Palcohol with food or other drinks, such as caffeinated beverages, could lead to more unexpected consequences.
Palcohol would be easily concealed and able to be combined with a wide variety of substances, opening the door to many unknown risks. The introduction of powdered alcohol may also introduce more creative combinations that appeal to teens and adolescents. While much is still unknown about the status of Palcohol, if approved, the substance would be the first of its kind in the United States.
Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances in the United States and the introduction of Palcohol could contribute to a growing problem with underage drinking and the potential for dangerous experimentation is nearly limitless.