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State moves to crack down on wide-awake drunks

Jan 20, 2011 11:54:00 AM - thestate.com
Controversial canned drinks that mix alcohol with caffeine could become illegal in South Carolina.

A House subcommittee voted Thursday to outlaw the drinks. Law enforcement officials say they are popular with young and underage drinkers because they taste like energy drinks, instead of alcohol, get the drinker drunk quickly and are cheap. A can, which can be the equivalent of four or five beers, costs about $2.30 in the Columbia area.

"So you have this drunk but wide-awake individual," said state Rep. Laurie Funderburk, D-Kershaw, who sponsored the bill. "People are engaging in risky behavior."

Federal officials also are working to ban the drinks, Funderburk said. The S.C. bill will be taken up by a House committee next week. To become law, it would have to pass the House, state Senate and, in most cases, be signed by Gov. Nikki Haley.

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