To the Editor:
I am deeply troubled by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s recent decision approving a new form of powdered alcohol called Palcohol. This substance can be mixed with water or any other beverage, making it a “camouflaged” cocktail drink that is as easy to make as lemonade or iced tea.
Schools across the nation are already engaged in an ongoing struggle to address the rampant alcohol- and substance-abuse issues that plague our campuses. Now, we have the addition of this new powdered alcohol substance, which can be quickly added to any bottled beverage. How will schools be able to adequately supervise their cafeterias while this instant cocktail mix makes its way around the table?
I serve on the board of directors of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. The council provides outreach and counseling services to thousands of individuals and families facing addiction issues and works with dozens of school districts to provide training, counseling, and program assistance to overwhelmed support-staff employees valiantly attempting to stem the tide. Our organization is appalled that such a product has the potential for sale in New York and other states.
Since Palcohol has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it is now solely in the hands of individual states to legislate this new product and keep it off the shelves of the convenience stores that no doubt would be a prime location for its marketing and sales campaign.
We cannot sit by and allow the emergence of yet another product to add to the growing list of destructive substances that are afflicting our students and their families.
Cold Spring Harbor Junior/Senior High School
Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.
A version of this article appeared in the April 01, 2015 edition of Education Week as Agency Approval of ‘Powdered Alcohol’ Poses Problem for Schools and States