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Bertino-Tarrant, Silverstein drug bans signed into law

jbt-iraTwo emerging drug products are joining the long list of substances threatening public health, particularly that of young people: powdered caffeine and powdered alcohol. Two senators' measures have been signed by the governor this week to ban the sale of both. One has already caused deaths, the other is expected to.

Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) sponsored legislation to make the substance illegal for minors in Illinois. Overdoses of caffeine powder have already been documented in the U.S. An 18-year-old student athlete in Ohio, one week away from graduating high school, died after ingesting toxic amounts of caffeine. A 24-year-old man in Georgia fell into a coma and then died after using powdered caffeine. Medical professionals agree consuming large amounts of caffeine is dangerous, and the concentrated form in a powder magnifies the danger (one teaspoon can equal 25 cups of coffee).

The other dangerous new powder is called Palcohol -- powdered alcohol -- and Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) has seen to it with Senate Bill 67 that it will be banned in Illinois. The powder may be dissolved in a beverage; it is easily concealed and added to soda, juice or food. It is anticipated to be equally appealing to young people for its potential to be snorted as well as consumed by mouth.

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