Opioid Overdoses Fuel Rise in Accidental Deaths
Opioid overdoses are fueling a sharp increase in accidental deaths in the United States, according to a new report by the National Safety Council.
The manufacturer of the sweet-flavored “alcopop” Four Loko has agreed to change the labels of the cans so that they state the drinks contain as much alcohol as four to five cans of beer. The change comes in response to pressure from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), according to The Washington Post.
The FTC says the manufacturer, Phusion Projects, falsely claimed that a 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko contains the same amount of alcohol as one or two regular 12-ounce beers. Drinking a single can of Four Loko in one sitting constitutes binge drinking, according to the FTC.
The company has not admitted to any wrongdoing, but says it will relabel the drinks to better inform its customers, according to the article.
“Deception about alcohol content is dangerous to consumers, and it’s a serious concern for the FTC,” David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a news release. “Four Loko contains as much alcohol as four or five beers, but it is marketed as a single-serving beverage.”
According to the FTC, Phusion encouraged customers to enter a photo contest on its website in which they posted photos of people drinking from the 23.5 ounce Four Loko cans. The company also urged stores to stock the cans alongside other refrigerated, single-serve alcohol drinks.
In November 2010, the FTC and the Food and Drug Administration notified four companies, including Phusion, that their products were unsafe, unapproved and misleadingly marketed.