Powdered Alcohol: A New Threat to Society


Alcohol is believed to be one of the most important issues bringing harm to society. It is generally believed, that alcohol in small doses taken with comparatively long breaks is not harmful. However, there are many factors for any consumer of this product that might lead to the evolvement of alcoholic dependence. These factors may vary and can involve different parameters from having genetic aptitude to social factors. Moreover, one more threat might evolve because of advances of modern technology. The essence of the issue is that the image of alcohol has always been associated with a liquid. However, recent studies and experiments made a way for alcoholic substance to be powdered. Though it completely changes the concept of alcohol being a liquid, its effects on the human body, are preserved. Among such effects one can name alcoholism. This problem has been highlighted in the article by Rachel Abrams entitled Powdered Alcohol Meets Resistance in U.S. Before It Even Comes to Market. The following paper investigates the issue attempting to find out possible harmful effects of powdered alcohol on the personality as well as the community. The reason for this is that there is a presumption that powdered alcohol is even more harmful than a liquid one.

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The Description of the Issue

The article of Abrams argues about the possible harmful effect of powdered alcohol that led to public condemnation and resistance to this substance. The discovery of powdered alcohol by Mark Philips in 2012 has been followed by recent will of the six states to ban this invention. Such decision is based on the presumption that powdered forms of alcohol are more harmful than liquid ones. As a result, there has been a warning that the control over its distribution might be hindered due to its form. For instance, such substances can be easily sold via the Internet. Moreover, there is evidence that particular sellers might add prescription drugs endangering their clients’ health. The reason for this is that various combinations of unknown substances might cause severe intoxication, allergy or overdose.
Thus, the primary reason of the fears about the dangerous issue of the discussed phenomena lies in the physical characteristics of ordinary alcohol. The physical capabilities of liquid alcohol are such that it cannot be transformed into powder. Wheate explains its essence arguing that the host-guest chemistry is the basis of the powdered alcohol to emerge. The reason that alcohol bears the form of powder is that it is likely to trap inside a circular molecule called a cyclodextrin (Wheate 2014). One of the peculiarities of this molecule is that it is capable of capturing various substances. Thus, as the alcohol is trapped into the molecule, it can be released only with the help of adding a liquid. Consequently, such characteristics raised numerous questions among the senators whether the substance should be banned in the US. Among the reasons that were expressed by politicians through the article was possible increase in underage drinking and abuse, better physical state for concealing the substance and problems with its taxation and regulation. Moreover, the colorful packages were claimed to be potentially attractive for children. The author of the article expresses his surprise of the decisions of Food and Drug administration that stated the powder alcohol has no ingredients that might break its regulations. Consequently, some experts claim that the ban of powdered alcohol would obstruct its regulation. Moreover, Dr. Ryan Stanton assures it to become more dangerous than the drugs mainly because he is assured. Such situation is aggravated by the specific form of the substance as it can be easily hidden, transported or mixed with other substances.

Community Threats

Furthermore, the fear of the threat of powdered alcohol to the community is connected with its physical qualities. Thus, among the peculiarities of the new alcoholic substance one can name its possibility to be snorted into the nose. This way lets the substance achieve the brain avoiding its emission into the blood stream and filtering by liver and kidneys. Even though there is no confirmed verification of the effects of such alcohol on the human body scientists claim the changes might be crucial. One of the vivid examples is the irritation of nasal cavities because of snorting the substance that consequently might lead to swelling or bleeding. The experience of snorting the substance was drawn by writer Brent Rose: “It was awful. It was terrible. I mean, it’s – you’re putting alcohol directly in a mucous membrane. It’s not any fun”. The reasons of such impact are that the powder burns the nasal passages leading to their irritation. Moreover, additional factors stimulating the infection of the nasal cavity and throat emerges. Furthermore, direct impact on the brain might severely impair judgment and motor skills of the user of such substance. Thus, the new way of absorbing the substance might face the person with adverse harmful effects.
Other public concerns about the topic are connected with its ability of causing binge drinking, which leads to the whole body intoxication. This new feature is significantly different from vinery and brewery products. The reason of this difference is that beer or wine is sold in an already mixed state with fixed percentage of alcohol. Thus, a drinking person is aware of its influence on the body and is capable to manage the degree of drinking. An example of this phenomenon is given by Anderson involving alcohol and espresso, “alcohol has a “built-in protection” in that when you drink too much, you fall asleep. Furthermore, powdered alcohol might be added to usual drinks to stimulate alcoholic intoxication as well as to alcoholic drinks to boost their qualities. Moreover, the ability of concealing alcohol in the form of powder might involve cases when it might be brought into places where it is prohibited. Among such places are public locations, such as parks, schools and so on. This might aggravate the relationship of youngsters and teenagers with school administrations as well as negatively affect cultural and community initiatives. The physicians also explain this as a result of the impact of the advertisements of the new powder drinks on teenagers. Consequently, it would become for school officials to manage the problem of underage drinking and the abuse of alcohol.

One should also mention possible problems of economic nature. The reason for them is the possibility of smuggling, avoiding taxation and illegal sales. Furthermore, the problems might arise between the public health and safety regulations and the retailers of powdered alcohol. High costs of alcohol in bars and restaurants might be compensated by the attendees by the brought powdered alcohol. Mixing it with water would allow decreasing the costs spent on alcohol as well as increasing the volume of alcohol in any drink. The level of the issues raised by the introduction of powdered alcohol remains unclear. Nonetheless, Naimi and Mosher state that “the absence of data proving that a product is safe or manageable, the precautionary principle as applied to public health requires that reasonable safety be established prior to the introduction of potentially dangerous products”. The sanction of the product is about to bear inevitable character meaning that the reverse process could never happen.
The possible negative side of the usage of powdered alcohol is stressed not by the people who experienced its usage or fears it. The physicians also highlight negative impact on the local levels as well as the whole organism. For instance, Robert Glatter is concerned about the possible mixture of powdered alcohol and marijuana producing mood altering substances. Furthermore, the concerns of the physicians involve the increased danger of alcoholism in women because of the possible exposure to powdered alcoholic drinks. Another important concern is the safety of ingredients. There is evidence that some of the substances used for creation of powdered alcohol cause various pathology. For instance, Wheate fears that some substances cause more harm than the other, “Cyclodextrins are approved for human use and are generally regarded as safe, although one size of the molecule, called beta-cyclodextrin, is known to cause kidney damage when it is injected into the blood stream” Wheate. That is why, the society needs thorough investigation of the substances it is about to be exposed to.
On the other hand, there is group of people that backs the initiative of the introduction of the new form of alcohol. Unfortunately, they do not give any statistics of the usage of these substances and their effects. Their arguments seem to be pure speculation of human tastes. That is why social opinion is extremely critical about the attempts of introduction of a new substance. It becomes clear that the number of threats from it is much greater than the chance of harmless positive experience. Moreover, there is a contrasting opinion about the forms of the substances given by Jessica Firger, which argues that there were people diagnosed overdosing of edible marijuana. That is why one clearly sees the number of threats facing an individual as well as the community that should be treated appropriately. Moreover, the society should address the described issue and raise a discussion involving various experts in order to avoid problems in the future. One might suggest introducing a commission to carry out the study of harmful effects of powder alcohol on the human body. The legal repercussions of possible approval might be reduced by a special commission aimed at the development of its regulative measures in the sphere of the law. Thus, the community threats are based on rational presumptions of the mentioned barriers that involve possible abuse of powdered alcohol and its repercussions for the community.


Summarizing the presented information one comes to conclusion that the evolvement of a new type of alcohol, that is powdered alcohol, raised much controversy in the public. This information as well as a number of concerns is rendered in the discussed article. The reasons of the concerns are in the chemical form that raises public fears and various barriers of its usage. These barriers affect the spheres of medicine and health, ethics and economy. There is evidence that the new substance is likely to be banned in most of the states. However, there is no legal regulation for such substances yet. Thus, the promoters of the new substance attempt to back their opinion subsiding to demagogic statements. Moreover, the number of possible health and economic problems cannot be avoided with the introduction of powdered alcohol. Consequently, on the basis of presented information, one shares the presumptions of the author that powdered alcohol is more harmful than a liquid one. That is why the society is about to reject it. A possible solution for this problem is gathering a special commission of medical and legal experts to estimate the threats of the usage of the new alcohol substance. The results of work of such commission should assist bringing the rational and useful decision on this issue.

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