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Powdered alcohol … the next date rape drug?

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Sometimes, the little bills are the good ones.

Sometimes, the bills that don’t involve eye-catching headlines or involve hot-button issues like guns on campus, how to use Amendment 1 dollars, or who should check the genitalia of folks using the bathroom often get little notice.

It’s that way with the effort to ban Palcohol.

On one hand, powdered alcohol is kind of cool. Take a glass of water, add the powdered mix, add crushed ice and some salt on the rim and voila, you have an instant margarita. As someone who enjoys an occasional nightcap, I could see myself enjoying the convenience.

On the other hand, as the father of a beautiful little girl, the stuff is a nightmare. Hard to detect, easy to smuggle and tempting to abuse, Palcohol has date rape or hazing-party-gone-wrong written all over it.

“Hello, little lady, can I buy you a drink?”

“Sure, but just one, I get too tipsy when I drink more.”

A purchase from the bartender plus a covertly added packet or two of this (potentially) legal additive can turn a lone shot of tequila and a splash on Cointreau into the equivalent of 4 or 5 shots of booze.

The stuff can be easily and surreptitiously added to the drinks of underage partygoers, mixed into food, snuck into parties, concerts and sporting events with amazing ease. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York once dubbed the concoction the “Kool-Aid of teen binge drinking” and that visual alone should give each of us pause.

Florida lawmakers are grappling with how to handle this party in a packet. Let’s face it; we were too late to the game on pill mills and we hit the pause button on bath salts. (Normally I would insert a line here about Kratom, but I don’t want to blow up my server again.) It would be a shame if we allowed powdered alcohol onto Florida’s streets, only to see just how wild and crazy a year-round spring break can get.

But for something this dangerous and this prone to abuse perhaps we should hit the pause button. Making it illegal first and then figuring a way to move it into the spectrum of regulated products makes more sense – far more sense – then letting into the wild now and then later figuring a way to rein it back in.

Until that time, I will enjoy my nightcaps the old fashioned way.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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