Local officials joining statewide effort to ban powdered alcohol.

June 3, 2015

LUDINGTON – Local medical professionals, law enforcement leaders and businesses are joining a state-wide effort calling for a ban on powdered alcohol.

“Alcohol abuse results in health and safety issues that often have a devastating impact to families in our community.  Powdered alcohol is the kind of product that can be easily misused by adults and minors, which is my biggest concern” said Mark Vipperman, president of Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital.  “Because of the significant risk factors that are being associated with powdered alcohol, I don’t believe that this product ought to be offered for sale to the general public.”

While the federal government has cleared the way for powdered alcohol to be sold, the product is not expected to be commercially produced until this summer. Individual states decide whether powdered alcohol can be sold, in accordance with their own state-based alcohol laws and regulations as allowed under the 21st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. To date, at least six states have passed laws banning powdered alcohol and more than 30 are considering banning it. Michigan is considering proposals to ban powdered alcohol by Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge), a former Eaton County sheriff, and Rep. Scott Dianda (D-Calumet), a former retail store owner. Their plan has broad bipartisan support, passing the Senate on May 20 and now awaits action in the state House.

“Powdered alcohol can be spiked into someone’s food and drinks without people’s knowledge, it can be snuck into schools and libraries, and it can be accidentally ingested by small children who mistake it for candy,” said Ludington Police Chief Mark Barnett. “Powdered alcohol opens the door wide open for illegal underage drinking and intentional and even accidental over-consumption. Powdered alcohol opens the door to more alcohol-related problems at a time when law enforcement, hospitals and first responders are doing more with less to keep our roads and our communities safer.”

“Law enforcement officers see for ourselves what happens when alcohol is abused and one of the most devastating things any family can go through is to lose a loved one because of something that could have been avoided altogether,” said Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole. “Powdered alcohol is a product that can be abused and misused by too many people. It can be consumed in dangerous ways that will spell trouble for families and businesses in our community, and it’s something we should keep out of Michigan.”

“Our family owned business and our employees have deep roots in the community – and that’s why we oppose powdered alcohol, which is a big problem in a small packet,” said Willie Reed, president of Ludington Beverage. “Powdered alcohol is an irresponsible product that can easily slip through the safeguards our communities have put in place to keep alcohol away from kids and make sure only legal adults have access to alcoholic beverages. The risks of powdered alcohol are too great, and that’s why businesses are standing with medical professionals and law enforcement leaders across Michigan to support a ban.”

The call comes as statewide medical, law enforcement and business organizations announced their support for a ban on powdered alcohol in late April.

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