FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 16, 2015
Contact: Jason Stanford, 804-698-1049, DelALopez@house.virginia.gov
GENERAL ASSEMBLY PASSES BILL FROM HERRING AND LOPEZ TO BAN DANGEROUS POWDERED ALCOHOL
RICHMOND (February 16, 2015) -- Today, the Senate unanimously passed a bill from Attorney General Mark R. Herring and Delegate Alfonso Lopez (49-Arlington) to ban the importation, sale, and use of powdered or crystalline alcohol. The bill was previously approved unanimously by the House of Delegates and it will now go to Governor Terry McAuliffe for his signature. The use of powdered alcohol presents a substantial risk for abuse, especially by young people, because it can be easily transported, hidden or consumed due to its discrete, compact packaging. It could be sprinkled into to someone's drink without their knowledge, snorted through the nose potentially leading to brain damage, and could easily be over-consumed resulting in alcohol poisoning. Powdered alcohol is currently banned in seven states, with several other state legislatures considering similar measures, even as the manufacturer pushes to get the product to market this spring.
"It's great to see Democrats and Republicans come together to help keep Virginians safe and healthy-particularly teenagers and other young people," said Attorney General Mark Herring. "Banning the importation, sale and use of dangerous powdered alcohol will greatly reduce the risk of abuse, and I'm pleased to have worked with Del. Lopez, who introduced this bill and led the efforts in the General Assembly."
"This legislation is a commonsense public safety measure designed to safeguard Virginians, especially our young people, against the growing dangers of powdered and crystalline alcohol," said Delegate Alfonso Lopez (49-Arlington). "The potential for abuse of this product far outweighs any value it may have to the citizens of the Commonwealth. We have an obligation to protect all Virginians from the health and safety risks associated with these kinds of dangerous novelty products."
Attorney General Herring and his team drafted HB1908 with Delegate Lopez to prohibit the importation, sale and possession of powdered or crystalline alcohol. In April of 2014, the FDA approved powdered alcohol, but quickly reversed the approval stating that it had been made in 'error.'