Extreme-Strength Alcohol Banned in Maryland

extreme-strength alcoholGovernor O’Malley signed legislation banning the retail sale of 190-proof alcohol and stronger.[1] Now, Maryland has joined the ranks of more than a dozen other states that have banned the sale of such products.1

Extreme-strength alcohol, also known as grain alcohol, is 95 percent pure and has no color, taste, or smell when mixed with juice or punch.1 It is inexpensive, which makes it very attractive to underage drinkers.1 In fact, according to a recent national survey, underage binge drinkers are more likely to use extreme-strength alcohol compared to their non-binging peers.1

“Grain alcohol is seen as a cheap and reliable way to get drunk quickly, sometimes without the person knowing it,” said Jonathan Gibralter, President of Frostburg State University and a key proponent of the legislation. “Not surprisingly, its potency and low price make grain alcohol a popular option for college students.”1

In fact, banning extreme-strength alcohol was a top priority of The Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems, a group that formed in 2013 to address problems associated with excessive alcohol consumption on ten college campuses across the state.1

“This ban on the retail sale of grain alcohol demonstrates the impact of a strong collaboration among Maryland’s universities and colleges,” said Johns Hopkins University President Ron Daniels. “Through our shared efforts around this important issue, we can hopefully make a positive difference for the health and safety of the young adults on our campuses.”1

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that, nationally, drinking on college campuses is responsible for 1,825 deaths annually, as well as 599,000 unintentional injuries, 696,000 physical assaults, and 97,000 sexual assaults. In Maryland, 19 percent of underage and 22 percent of 21- to 24-year-old college students meet the criteria for either alcohol abuse or dependence.1

Hopefully, this will motivate other states to follow suit.

[1] Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2014, May 5). Governor signs bill banning extreme-strength alcohol in Maryland. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 12, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140505142008.htm

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