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Senator Fred Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester, listens to testimony before the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee regarding services for people with developmental disabilities.

TRENTON –  Legislation sponsored by Senator Fred H. Madden, Jr. and Senator Shirley K. Turner that would prohibit the sale of powdered alcohol was approved today by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

The bill, S-2846, would ban the sale, delivery, or purchase of any product consisting of powdered alcohol in the state of New Jersey. The bill would define “powdered alcohol” as any powder or crystalline substance containing alcohol produced for human consumption.

“Like liquid alcohol, powdered alcohol is a dangerous substance that can cause serious harm to individuals consuming it,” said Senator Madden (D-Camden/Gloucester). “We cannot risk the possibility of young people experimenting with and abusing this product, and leading to tragic results. We must ensure the safety of our children and families and banning the sale of products consisting of powdered alcohol is common sense.”

Live Science reported in March 2015 that the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved Palcohol, a powdered alcohol that people can drink by mixing the product with water. When a packet of Palcohol is mixed with 6 ounces (177 milliliters) of water, the resulting drink has the same alcohol content as a standard mixed drink.

“It is imperative that we implement a measure that would ban the sale and purchase of powdered alcohol,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon/Mercer). “Other states have made the sound decision to prohibit this harmful product which could increase underage drinking and abuse. We should also take the right steps to ensure that residents in our state are safe and do not inadvertently become ill or worse  from the over- consumption or abuse of powdered alcohol.”

Concerns have been raised over the use of powdered alcohol. Some issues highlighted include the easier ability to sneak it into places where alcohol is banned,  and  the possibility of individuals, especially those under 21 years old, abusing the product by snorting it or ingesting more than the recommended amount. According to a recent article by the New York Times, advocacy groups concerned over powdered alcohol have pointed out to the dangers this product can have on children. Colorful packaging can attract young children to open and consume powdered alcohol. There is also the danger of mixing multiple powdered alcoholic substances into a single drink. Web MD reported that health officials are concerned about the product’s easy availability to youths who could potentially choke if they snort powdered alcohol or who could potentially mix these products with other drugs.

According to testimony given in the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee, seven states have banned the sale of powdered alcohol and 39 other states are considering a ban.

The bill was approved by a vote of 5-0. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.