The effort to ban powdered alcohol in Missouri has not ended.
Word last year that a company was prepared to market powered alcohol sparked numerous state legislative efforts throughout the country to ban its sale. 89 bills were offered in 40 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The latest state to enact a ban was Illinois, where no lawmakers voted against it.
A bill to ban it in Missouri didn’t advance out of the committee process, but its sponsor, Representative Patricia Pike (R-Adrian), says she’ll try again in the 2016 session.
“I do feel there are still concerns,” Pike told Missourinet. “We did hear from pediatricians, the Missouri Narcotics [Officers’] Association, Children’s Mercy Hospital Network and Cardinal Glennon poison centers.”
Julie Weber with the Poison Center at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center told a House Committee in April she was concerned with how much powdered alcohol might look like candy.
“We receive 54-thousand calls a year and of those, traditional alcohol products comprise over 1,300 of our calls,” said Weber. “59-percent of our calls come in on pediatric patients, and you think about the accessibility in-home, and the majority of these calls happen because of look-alikes, like candy, looks like medicine sometimes. With this, if you look at the powdered alcohol, it looks like fun dip, and they can have a good taste.”
Jason Grellner with the Missouri Narcotics Officers’ Association said the product’s original website promoted sneaking it into concert venues or sporting events to avoid high drink prices or last calls.
“This is purely being marketed for abuse. This is just an easy way to conceal alcohol and continue the disease of alcohol abuse,” said Grellner.
The website for Palcohol, maker of powdered alcohol whose website Grellner saw a previous version of, has since revamped that website and said the language he saw was “experimenting with some humorous and edgy verbiage about Palcohol. It was not meant to be our final presentation of Palcohol.”
It now decries its earlier statement about sneaking its product into venues, which it said also included a disclaimer elsewhere on the page about using it in a responsible and legal manner. It’s page now includes this argument: “Powdered alcohol will make it easier to sneak into venues. Not true. A shot of liquid alcohol is 1/4 the volume of a shot of powdered alcohol so it’s much easier to sneak liquid alcohol into venues.”
The site also presents the argument that banning the product will increase demand for it and make it easier for children to access it. It concludes a series of rebuttals with the statement, “all of the criticisms are just hyperbole created by people who have no knowledge of the product.”
A request for an interview with Palcohol maker Mark Phillips was unanswered by the time this story was written.