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Senator Fred Madden at the first meeting of the Senate Task Force on Health Insurance Exchange Implementation

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 full Senate.

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.

“Powdered alcohol, much like liquid alcohol, is a dangerous substance that can cause serious harm,” said Senator Madden (D-Camden/Gloucester). “This product can lead young people to experiment and abuse its contents which could potentially have tragic results. By banning the sale of products consisting of powdered alcohol, we will ensure the safety and health of our children and families.”

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.

“Banning the sale and purchase of powdered alcohol is a crucial step to ensuring the wellbeing of our residents,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon/Mercer). “Other states have made the sound decision to prohibit this harmful product to prevent any negative effects from its availability, including the potential to increase underage drinking and alcohol abuse. Banning this substance in New Jersey is the right thing to do for our residents.”

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 published in the New York Times, advocacy groups concerned over powdered alcohol have pointed 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 39-1. It was approved by the Assembly with a vote of 69-5 and now heads to the Governor’s desk.