Drug Policy

Why Does the FDA Hate Rock 'n' Roll?

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Blow is a white powder that comes in a clear resealable vial. "Just add an entire vial of Blow Energy Drink Mix to your favorite beverage and enjoy with a friend," instructs the product's website, which is decorated with scantily clad women who "love blow." In addition to citric acid, "natural flavor," kola nut extract, aspartame, and a whole lot of caffeine (240 milligrams), the mix contains various B vitamins, taurine, L-carnitine, and inositol. In other words, it's pretty similar to a lot of other energy drinks, except for the edgy marketing, which is the same thing that got Redux Beverages, producer of Cocaine brand energy drink, in trouble. Under pressure from the FDA, which considered Cocaine a "misbranded drug" and an "unapproved new drug" because it was marketed as a "street drug alternative," Redux gave up the product's main selling point, its name. The people behind Blow, who go even further in making their product resemble cocaine, can expect similar trouble. They may also be deemed to be violating laws that prohibit the sale of "simulated controlled substances."

As I've noted before, the taboos violated by these companies have nothing to do with consumer protection: The products are safe for consumption, and buyers (assuming they can read) are not being tricked into thinking they're getting something they're not. Such crackdowns are a form of censorship aimed at suppressing controversial drug-related speech and shoring up pharmacological orthodoxy. "The people that are uptight and have a problem with our product are probably the same people that have a problem with rock 'n' roll and rap music and certain television programs," says Blow founder Logan Gola. "They do need to lighten up. Our product is done tongue in cheek, and they can move on and focus on more important issues than Blow." They can, but they won't.