Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Today KIRO's Chris Sullivan offers this disturbing report:

The alcoholic energy drink Four Loko might have been used in the rape of a West Seattle teenager.

Two 15-year-old girls say Todd Phelan gave them Four Loko and vodka at his apartment after picking them up near a youth center.

The girls say they wanted to leave, but they were too drunk to do much of anything.

One of the girls claims the 34-year-old raped her repeatedly while she was out of it.

This is not the first time an alcoholic energy drink (AED) has been mentioned in a story about a serious crime. While we're not suggestiong an absolute causal link between specific crimes and AEDs, we are reminded of what medical researchers said last year:

[B]eing wide awake and drunk at the same time increases the risk of engaging in several forms of violent or other high-risk physical behaviors that can cause injury. Even after adjusting for the amount of alcohol consumed, college students who consumed alcohol mixed with energy drinks had a significantly higher prevalence of serious alcohol-related consequences such as being taken advantage of sexually, taking advantage of someone else sexually, riding with a drunken driver, and being physically injured, compared to students who drank alcohol alone (O'Brien et al., 2008).

-Dan Sytman-