Letter to the Editor: Powdered Alcohol

Dear Editor,

Alcoholic beverages may soon be available in capsules or powdered form. Powdered alcohol? Did you know that it exists? In March, 2015, the U. S. Alcohol Tobacco and Trade Bureau approved the revised labels for a new powdered alcohol called Palcohol, allowing the product to be sold legally in the United States, unless otherwise prohibited. The makers of Palcohol, say their freeze-dried vodka, rum, “powderitas,”and other alcoholic products will appeal to backpackers and others who want a lightweight, more portable form of liquor.

What is powdered alcohol? Alcohol is absorbed by a sugar derivative and through the encapsulation process, capsules of powdered alcohol are created. The process is similar to creating longer flavor release in chewing gum. The capsule can become a liquid alcoholic product in water, but may also be taken in capsule form orally. Powdered alcohol is similar to cook-aid or tang, a powder that, when mixed with water, becomes in instant alcoholic beverage drink. The Palcohol container is foil type with a zipper to open similar to Capri Sunpackets.

Health and safety concerns include combining multiple packets to make a single drink, mixing powdered alcohol with liquid alcohol, and mixing powdered alcohol with energy drinks. Also, marketing is sure to appeal to youth and packets are similar in size and shape to nonalcoholic children’s drink packets. If the alcohol is inhaled it is more potent and more addictive.

Twenty-seven states have banned Powdered Alcohol through state statute or agency policy. Kentucky has tried to pass legislation banning Powdered Alcohol but has not been successful at passing legislation.

Is this something else our children need to be faced with? You decide.

Claudia Gibson Greenwood

Knox County UNITE Chair