IADDA Praises Attorney General Madigan, Governor Pat Quinn’s Effort to Rid Illinois of Alcoholic Energy Drinks

(Chicago, IL) — December 2, 2010. Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Governor Pat Quinn’s Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Liquor Control Commission last week issued letters to manufacturers of caffeinated alcohol drinks demanding they immediately halt the sale of these beverages in Illinois, drawing praise from the state’s top advocacy group against substance abuse.

The demand comes on the heels of a ruling by the federal Food and Drug Administration two weeks ago deeming these drinks unsafe for consumption.

In issuing the letters, Madigan and Quinn warned that failure to adhere to the immediate removal of these drinks could amount to violations of the state’s Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

The Attorney General emphasized businesses could stand to lose licenses to manufacture, market or sell any alcohol products statewide if they fail to comply.

“With our letter today, we are demanding the last cans and bottles of these dangerous beverages be removed from store shelves in Illinois,” Madigan said. “These drinks glamorize alcohol abuse and threaten the safety of those consuming them.”

“Alcoholic energy drinks exist only to compound the problem of underage drinking because they are marketed toward youth,” said Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence CEO Sara Moscato Howe. “They are a menace.”

“We applaud the action by Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Governor Pat Quinn to get these drinks off the market in Illinois; they only add to the risk of addiction and to the risk of death on Illinois highways.”

Youth are more vulnerable to alcoholic energy drinks because they are more likely to take risks and suffer from higher rates of alcohol problems, including traffic accidents, violence, sexual assault, and suicide, according to a 2007 Marin Institute report “Alcohol, Energy Drinks, and Youth: A Dangerous Mix”.

In 2008, Madigan and the attorneys general of 12 other states initiated investigations of the two leading manufacturers of alcoholic energy drinks at that time: Miller-Coors Brewing and Anheuser-Busch Inc. The investigations resulted in the companies’ halt to production of caffeinated alcoholic beverages.

And in May 2007, Madigan joined other attorneys general in urging Anheuser-Busch to change its advertising of another alcoholic energy drink, called Spykes. Anheuser-Busch pulled Spykes from stores in response.

“We hope the alcoholic energy drink manufacturers immediately heed Attorney General Madigan and Governor Quinn’s call,” said Moscato Howe.