Seward: Stop Sales Of Drug-named Drinks

James L. Seward

February 27, 2007

Naming energy or sports drinks for controlled substances would be prohibited under legislation introduced by State Senator James L. Seward (R-C-I/Milford).

Seward said he filed the bill (S. 3149) after constituents pointed out to him last year that a company was marketing a drink called "Cocaine" and promoting various alcoholic combinations of the energy drink on its web site with drug-related names. Last year Seward blasted a company for marketing the drink and he urged its boycott by convenience store owners and citizens.

"It is outrageous that a company would call its drink 'Cocaine;' making light of a deadly drug at the heart of the murders of innocent people and police officers, and those who suffer from its addiction," Seward said. "Last year I urged citizens to boycott it and local retailers to exercise their right not to distribute or sell it. It treats drug use and abuse much too casually.

" The company's message to young people is that 'Cocaine' is desirable and harmless, and it attempts to weaken societal disapproval of controlled substances. Now I am introducing a bill to prohibit the sale of any product bearing the name of a controlled substance."

The highly caffeinated product is manufactured by Redux Beverages, a Las Vegas company, as an 'energy' drink.

Last year Seward wrote to the company and asked owner James Kirby to pull the drink and rename it. He also contacted the state Association of Convenience Stores and the state Retail Council, asking them to alert their members to the product and to decline carrying the product in stores across the state.

"What kind of message are we sending to young people in a drug saturated world when a company pushes 'Cocaine' and the company's web site -- now changed -- suggested drinks called "cocaine snort" and an "8-ball," both drug terminology?" Seward asked. "Using drug names glamorizes a deadly drug as harmless, energy boosting fun, and we should be outraged by it."

A violation would carry a fine of up to $5,000 for a first violation; and a $10,000 fine and a misdemeanor for a second violation within five years.

"I think it was Alexander Hamilton who said that capitalism without virtue can lead to vice. We need some companies to put some virtue back in their marketing practices," Seward said.

The bill is sponsored in the assembly by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx).