Powdered alcohol - marketed as Palcohol - is a new product set to appear on store shelves in the USA this summer if its creator has his way. Palcohol is a dry powdered form of alcohol that can convert any drink into an alcoholic beverage. When combined with six ounces of fluid, Palcohol “...is equal to one standard mixed drink”; one packet equals one shot of alcohol. It comes in a variety of enticing flavors, and is usually mixed with water. But while powdered alcohol is no different from liquid alcohol in terms of its risks as a substance, its powdered form has health experts concerned.
First, Palcohol’s portability makes it easy to transport. While this is convenient for legal use, it's also a form of alcohol ideal for underage drinkers looking to conceal and transport it. The method of consumption is also a concern - some fear that users will try to snort Palcohol given its powdered form, not unlike with cocaine and heroin. Snorting powdered alcohol, according to its creator, is both painful and ineffective. But people will try, nonetheless.
Users must be careful not to underestimate the potency of Palcohol; experts warn that the convenience and small size of the packets could encourage excessive use. Additionally, powdered alcohol should be kept away from children as the flavors may appeal to them.
Given its approval by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, it is unlikely that Palcohol is any more dangerous than liquid alcohol when consumed responsibly, according to directions, and by those of legal drinking age. However, its powdered form presents many concerns and possibilities for abuse users must exercise care, and be aware of the facts about the substance to ensure they do not underestimate its effects. According to the product's creator, "It is a great convenience for the person involved in activities where weight and bulk is a factor....like hiking, backpacking, etc. One package weighs about an ounce and is small enough to fit into any pocket." As of this writing, Palcohol is maneuvering through packaging and regulatory issues on its way to a convenience store near you. We'll keep you apprised of what we at North Bay hear.