NSW Council of Churches
For immediate release – 12 May 2014
There is a proper concern that powdered alcohol may soon be coming to a liquor store near you after a U.S. federal alcohol regulatory agency recently approved the product for sale.
Palcohol, a fine white powder, is easily transported in the pocket and can be mixed with water in the same way that powdered orange juice is used. It may also be sprinkled on food.
There is a public health risk that customers may either knowingly or unknowingly mix high-strength alcoholic beverages and consume more alcohol than planned. There is also a danger associated with snorting the product which, according to the U.S. company which is seeking to market the product, can “get you drunk almost instantly.”
It remains to be seen whether liquor retailers will seek to register a similar product for sales approval in Australia, but if American trends are any indication it is only a matter of time before we see powdered alcohol in clubs and hotels, at private parties and on our streets.
The NSW Council of Churches supports state regulation of alcoholic beverages in the interests of public health and harm minimisation, in particular a reduction in the incidence of family violence and road deaths in our community. The Council encourages all government agencies and industry players to work together to ensure the development of good policy and practice for the safety and well-being of consumers.
There is a real concern that if powdered alcohol products are introduced in the Australian market, alcohol-related problems including binge drinking, assault, date-rape and road deaths will increase. The best approach is zero tolerance of a product our community does not need, and we hope the NSW Government takes this approach.
Media contact Rod Benson 0412 421 678