ELLENSBURG - Sugary, highalcohol energy drinks that are popular with college students who want to get drunk quickly and cheaply came under renewed scrutiny Monday as investigators announced that nine freshmen hospitalized after an off-campus Central Washington University party had been drinking them.
Several states are considering outlawing the drinks, and at least two universities have banned them while the Food and Drug Administration reviews their safety.
The issue received new attention after the Oct. 8 party in Roslyn, a picturesque mountain town known as the place where the 1990s television series “Northern Exposure” was filmed.
Police first responded to a report of an unconscious female in a grocery store parking lot and learned about the party from her friends. At the home, officers found a chaotic scene, with students from nearby Central Washington University passed out and so intoxicated that investigators thought they had overdosed on drugs.
Nine students who drank a caffeinated malt liquor called Four Loko were hospitalized with blood-alcohol levels of 0.12 percent to 0.35 percent, and a female student nearly died, CWU President James L. Gaudino said.