Everyone has his or her story -- a story of how alcohol negatively impacted his or her life or harmed someone they love. A story of the high school party that got out of control and ended with the entire school mourning the death of a classmate. A story of a family torn apart due to the destructive influence of excessive drinking. But, what is to be done?

Organizations across the state have created programs designed to support youth in making good decisions, and they do ... until the next big party happens. Or until they find themselves in a situation where they unknowingly are being exposed to risks.

And, recently, a new product has been introduced that could pose a potentially fatal risk to even the most responsible teen: powdered alcohol.

Powdered alcohol is an underage drinker's dream. It is a convenient, lightweight packet that is easy to conceal and it comes in kid friendly flavors such as "lemon drop." Currently, the Texas Legislature is deciding whether it will make a move to regulate it versus ban the product from store shelves altogether.

Consider this, if available, these small packets could allow high school students to carry a 30-pack in their make-up bag or a six-pack in their pocket. It will allow for high consumption in a short amount of time. It would be easy to misuse or over-consume because it has many applications: It can be sprinkled into water bottles, added to food, added to the beverage of an unsuspecting person or even snorted. And, multiple packets can be put into a small glass of liquid increasing the alcohol content from one alcoholic beverage to many without increasing the amount of liquid a person is drinking -- making it very easy to get very drunk, very fast.

These small packets would make it easy to bypass bag checks and scanners, and to bring alcohol into places where it is prohibited such as high school football games, classrooms, airplanes, hospitals and vehicles.

In addition to the cost of lives, underage and excessive drinking costs Texans $19 billion a year, an average of $695 per person, and puts the lives of thousands of Texans at risk every day -- which is why the newest threat to our teens should be banned without a debate. The reasons for banning should be obvious.

Texans have learned this lesson before with alcoholic energy drinks (e.g. SPARKS and Four Loko) that first were regulated and hit the shelves in 2005. In 2010 after the tragic and needless deaths of several teens, moves finally were made to pull it from the shelves, no longer to allow its sale.

Like alcoholic energy drinks, powdered alcohol can lead to extreme misuse and overconsumption at a toxic level. We do not need to repeat past mistakes.

As a state that values public safety, responsible spending, and our young people, we have to rally around a common-sense approach to powdered alcohol. A ban will ensure that this threat to our safety, and our teens, stays out of Texas. Let's act now to prevent another public health crisis.

• Laura Dean-Mooney of College Station served as national president of mothers against drunk driving from 2008 through 2011. For more than 20 years, Mooney has advocated for stopping impaired driving and the prevention of underage drinking.

(4) comments

agtrad

Ya know what Laura "The kids" argument has failed in every aspect on every topic of drug or alcohol abuse, you know why? because people like you who choose to use that argument completely leave out that the people responsible for those kids which are the parents or other adults in their lives. Dont tread on responsible alcohol consumers by using "kids" as a tool, their are laws and penalties in place to deter such behavior and the adults are the violators, kids will get to it if they want it just like they get every drug under the sun, your "Ban" or request for one will do nothing but make the stuff go underground and make it more accessible to children, drug dealers or any black market dealer doesnt care but stores and regulation do, so please stop delivering misinformation.Snort it? ok someone has a history of drug abuse, not only that you brought to my attention without you i would have never heard of it and its been out since 2014. So thanks for that.

agtrad

Oh and by the way Four Loko is still sold in every store in Texas, so you are misinformed on that part to.

Andrea12

This product should be banned outright. Yes, Four Loko is on the market but without caffeine now. Four Loko and other caffeinated energy drinks caused numerous deaths. We have the opportunity to prevention needless deaths.

agtrad

Andrea the alcoholic drinks dont cause needless deaths those are a result of the poor choices people make you cannot blame an item itself, nothing but the choices those people made are to blame, similar to the argument that guns should be banned lets phrase it this way"Alcohol doesnt kill people the choices people make along with the alcohol kills people" did you know that alcohol and tobacco kill more people every year than all the other illegal drugs combined? So why have alcohol at all right? well you can ask your voted in politicians that one but we all know it goes back to the money, if we made alcohol illegal just as if we were to make marijuana legal law enforcement and a whole lot of others including big pharma, prison complex,etc. would lose alot of money, guess what I put money this product wont be banned and those that I have just named will make alot of money along the way. Sure some people will die but those are just casualties of profit just like its always been and Laura Mooney and the Mayor of College Station are smart enough to know this, and I never said anything about caffeine I said the product is still sold, not only that but still marketed toward younger consumers with leopard print cans and such, so get off your high horse and really do something about it.

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