Caffeine in an alcoholic beverage can mask the effects of alcohol, distorting the drinker's perception of how intoxicated he or she actually is. Drinks such as Four Loko, a caffeinated malt beverage, have been prevalent at Vassar and on college campuses throughout the nation.
Containing four standard drinks at around $2.50 a can, Four Loko is cheaper than its alcoholic equivalent in four $1 beers. The drinks' popularity has also brought controversy. Lawsuits and investigations from the Food and Drug Administration into the health hazards of mixing alcohol and caffeine have prompted many manufacturers of alcoholic energy drinks to discontinue product lines or remove the addition of caffeine to their drinks, as has been the case with Sparks, one of the first alcoholic energy drinks on the market.