Sun, Jan 15, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Officials warn over Four Loko beverage after GHB detected

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Authorities have warned that an alcoholic beverage called Four Loko may have been contaminated with an illicit drug after people complained about its effects.

Produced in the US, Four Loko is marketed as an energy drink, with a mix of alcohol and caffeine. In Taiwan it is commonly known as the “losing your virginity” drink. People have reportedly became unconscious after drinking the beverage and been sexually assaulted.

After several Taiwanese consumers complained of uncontrollable speech, unconsciousness and other side effects, the Ministry of Economic Affairs tested the product and found it contained gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), a banned substance.

GHB is a sedative used in prescription sleeping pills and as a recreational intoxicant. Known for its ability to induce a short coma-like sleep for several hours, it has been called the “date rape” drug. It is a banned substance in Taiwan, a Class 2 narcotic, and its possession and consumption are illegal.

Four Loko has not been authorized for sale in Taiwan, but it can be bought online.

A man surnamed Chang (張), who was questioned by police, said he bought the beverage from Chinese online shopping site Taobao in August last year and has sold more than 1,000 cans of the drink.

Chang on Friday was charged with breaches the Tobacco and Alcohol Administration Act (菸酒管理法) and the Narcotic Drugs Hazard Control Act (毒品危害防治條例).

Chiayi County police said they are attempting to contact anyone who made online purchases of the beverage from Chang over concerns that GHB was injected into the cans.

The US producer Phusion Projects said their original product does not contain GHB.

Videos of people in Taiwan and Hong Kong acting in drunken and irrational ways and becoming unconscious after drinking one can of Four Loko have been circulating the Internet. Doctors have warned about the dangerous side effects of GHB.

This story has been viewed 5313 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top