Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

Oregon Department of Justice - Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum
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September 17, 2008

Attorney General Hardy Myers today joined the attorneys general from 24 other states in calling for MillerCoors, LLC to abandon its plan to introduce a new alcoholic energy drink -- Sparks Red -- that contains significantly elevated alcohol content.

"The use of alcoholic energy drinks by minors is a particularly serious health and safety risk. By mixing stimulants with alcohol, these drinks only increase the dangers of underage drinking," said Myers, who in 2006 formed the Attorney General's Underage Drinking Task Force. "MillerCoors' choice to offer a drink with even higher alcohol content like Sparks Red flies in the face of undeniable evidence on the dangers of this growing trend in underage drinking."

In a letter to W. Leo Kiely, chief executive officer of MillerCoors, Myers said MillerCoor's decision to introduce Sparks Red defies growing body of evidence from medical and public health professionals about the dangers of mixing alcohol with stimulants found in energy drinks. Sparks Red contains as much as 8 percent alcohol by volume, a significant increase over the alcohol content found in other alcoholic energy drinks.

The states have repeatedly raised concerns about alcoholic energy drinks, particularly as to their appeal to young drinkers and their possible adverse health effects. The attorneys general cited one recent study by Wake Forest University School of Medicine that found that college students who mix alcohol and energy drinks engage in increased heavy episodic drinking and have twice as many episodes of weekly drunkenness. College students who reported consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks also had significantly higher prevalence of alcohol-related consequences such as sexual assault and injury.

In June, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. -- also under pressure from several states -- agreed to discontinue its alcoholic drinks spiked with caffeine and other stimulants, including "Tilt" and "Bud Extra."


Jake Weigler, (503) 378-6002
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