The American Medical Association (AMA) is calling for a ban on powdered alcohol to protect young people, Medscape reports. The group notes alcohol is the most widely used substance of abuse among young people, leading to 4,300 underage deaths annually.
Powdered alcohol is not yet available in the United States, the article notes. The product, to be sold under the brand name Palcohol, could be snuck into school by teens, the AMA warned.
The AMA House of Delegates voted at the group’s annual meeting last week to support federal and state laws that prohibit the manufacture, importation, distribution, and sale of powdered alcohol.
“Given the variety of flavors that could be enticing to youth and concerns that the final alcohol concentration could be much greater than intended by the manufacturer, we believe that powdered alcohol has the potential to cause serious harm to minors and should be banned,” AMA Board Member Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, said in a news release. “We urge states and the federal government to prevent powdered alcohol from being manufactured, distributed, imported and sold in the U.S.”
The AMA’s Council on Science and Public Health concluded that the danger that could come from mixing powdered alcohol with liquid alcohol or energy drinks “raises the potential for dangerous patterns of use.”
No research has yet been conducted on the potential health risks of Palcohol, the council noted. However, the group said, “previous experience with novel alcohol products that appealed to youth, including alcohol energy drinks, has demonstrated the potential for overuse and harm.”
In 2015, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York introduced a measure to ban the production, sale and possession of powdered alcohol. Schumer’s announcement came two days after a federal agency announced it had approved sale of the product.