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Governor Cuomo signs 'palcohol' ban into state law

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WBFO file photo
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Powdered alcohol, which allows users to mix into water or other liquids at varying concentrations, is now illegal to sell in New York State. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on Friday putting the ban of so-called 'palcohol' into effect. Supporters say the ban will keep the product further away from those most likely to abuse it with dangerous results: minors.

Those who work closely with young addicts say alcohol remains a leading gateway drug.

"Adolescents will use and use and use, because somebody tells them it's going to make them feel better," said Jodie Altman, campus director at Kids Escaping Drugs. "They're not like an adult that can have one drink or two drinks. They're just going to keep using it until it alters the way they feel, with detrimental consequences."

State Senator Tim Kennedy was among those pushing for the ban. He, too, was concerned about the risk of potentially lethal abuse.

"All you have to do is open the packet of powdered alcohol, add water or some other fluid, and it becomes potentially five to ten times as potent as a typical drink," Kennedy said.

The legislation signed Friday includes penalties for minors caught possessing powdered alcohol. Judges will be allowed the discretion to issue fines, community service hours and mandatory alcohol abuse awareness education.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, who has also pushed for a ban of the substance, issued a written statement praising Friday's development: "Powdered alcohol has the potential to become the Kool-Aid for underage binge drinking and Governor Cuomo and the New York legislature are doing the right thing by banning it. It is great that New York is leading on this issue, but this ban should be national, so I will continue to push legislation to do just that."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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