THE BALTIMORE STATEMENT ON DANGERS OF POWDERED ALCOHOL

Shirli Tay
Shirli Tay 1 Comments
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Powdered alcohol is a concentrated powder that contains approximately 55% alcohol by weight. It can be easily carried and concealed, and then mixed with water to reconstitute.

The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved labeling and distribution of powdered alcohol in April of 2014. Within two weeks, it reversed this decision. Then, in March 2015, the Tax and Trade Bureau suddenly approved the product labels—essentially approving powdered alcohol for widespread sale and distribution.

As pediatricians, emergency physicians, and public health leaders, we have grave concerns over the sale and use of this product. In Baltimore, alcohol is already the number one drug used by teens, with over half of high school students having tried alcohol, and 1 in 8 teens binge drinking at least once in the past month. Children who first use alcohol at age 15 are four times more likely to have an alcohol use disorder sometime in their life.

Powdered alcohol is easier to conceal, facilitating use by youth. It will make oversight more difficult for parents, teachers, and law enforcement officials. Powdered alcohol may also lead to greater and unintentional alcohol consumption, which can lead to poisoning, motor vehicle accidents, and even death.

As of today, five states (VA, LA, AK, VT, SC) have already banned powdered alcohol before its approval, and at least 22 other states are proposing bans in their legislatures (including AZ, CO, CT, FL, HI, KS, IL, IN, IA, MI, MN, NJ, NY, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, TN, UT, WI, WY).

Please join Baltimore’s health department and our region’s leading pediatricians and emergency physicians to protect our children and all of our residents from this dangerous substance.

Leana S. Wen, M.D.
Commissioner
Baltimore City Health Department

Steven J. Czinn, M.D.
Chairman of Pediatrics
University of Maryland School of Medicine;
Physician-in-Chief,
University of Maryland Children's Hospital

G. D. Kelen, M.D., FRCP(C), FACEP
Director, Department of Emergency Medicine
Johns Hopkins Medicine

Michael Crocetti, M.D.
Chief of Pediatrics
Johns Hopkins Community Physicians

Brian J. Browne, M.D.
Professor and Chairman
Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Jean Silver-Isenstadt, M.D., Ph.D.
Executive Director
National Physicians Alliance

Joseph Wiley, M.D.
Chief of Pediatrics
Sinai Hospital

Mahmood Jaberi, M.D.
President
Baltimore City Medical Society William Jaquis, M.D., FACEP
Chief of Emergency Services, LifeBridge Health

Michael Langbaum, M.D.
Chief of Pediatrics
University of Maryland
St. Joseph Medical Center

William B. Jordan, M.D.
President
National Physicians Alliance

David D. Hager, M.D., FACEP
Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine
MedStar Harbor Hospital

Michael G. Burke, M.D.
Chairman of Pediatrics
Saint Agnes Hospital

Kevin H. Scruggs, M.D., FACEP
Chief of Emergency Medicine
MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital

Susan Chaitovitz, M.D., FAAP
President, Maryland Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

Joneigh Khaldun, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer
Baltimore City Health Department

Susan Dulkerian, M.D.
Interim Chair of Pediatrics
Mercy Medical Center

Pascal Crosley, D.O.
Chairman of Emergency Services
St. Agnes Hospital

Tina Cheng, M.D.
Chair of Pediatrics
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Esti Schabelman, M.D., MBA
Asst. Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine;
Chief of Emergency Medicine, Bon Secours Hospital Baltimore

Joshua M. Sharfstein, M.D.
Associate Dean
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Patrick Chaulk, M.D.
Assistant Commissioner
Baltimore City Health Department

Tyler Cymet, D.O., FACP, FACOFP
Chief of Clinical Education, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine; President of
MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society

Gregory Branch, M.D., MBA, CPE
Director, Health and Human Services; Director, Department of Social Services; Health Officer and Director, Department of Health

Laurel G. Yap, M.D.
Director of Pediatrics
Harbor Hospital

David H. Jernigan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

REFERENCES

Albers, AB, Siegel, M, Ramirez, RL, Ross, C, DeJong, W, and Jernigan, DH. Flavored Alcoholic Beverage Use, Risky Drinking Behaviors, and Adverse Outcomes Among Underage Drinkers: Results From the ABRAND Study. American Journal of Public Health. 2015;105(4):810-815.

Bouchery EE, Henrick J, Harwood HJ, Sacks JJ, Simon CJ, Brewer RD. Economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in the United States, 2006. Am J Prev Med. 2011;41(5):516-524.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol-Related Disease Impact Software. 2012; http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/DACH_ARDI/Default/Default.aspx. Accessed 19 March 2015.

Grant, B.F. & Dawson, D.A. Age at onset of alcohol use and it association with DSM-IV alcohol abuse and dependence: Results from the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey. Journal of Substance Abuse. 1997;9:103-110.

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/cdp/SitePages/youth-risk-survey.aspx Accessed 19 March 2015.

National Conference of State Legislatures. Powdered Alcohol 2015 Legislation. http://www.ncsl.org/research/financial-services-and-commerce/powdered-alcohol-2015-legislation.aspx Accessed 19 March 2015.

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