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Is Snortable Chocolate the New Gateway Drug?

by Countable | 7.10.17

Coco Loko, a snortable chocolate powder can lead to health risks like blocked sinuses, snoring, sleep apnea, heart attacks and strokes, according to medical experts. The fact that this product remains unregulated and easily accessible has alarmed the medical community, parents and Congress.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has demanded that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) closely regulate the powder. Schumer calls the cacao powder "cocaine on training wheels" and say that it is marketed as a drug.

"I can’t think of a single parent who thinks it is a good idea for their children to be snorting over-the-counter stimulants up their noses," Schumer said. “This suspect product has no clear health value.”

Coco Loko is being promoted as a drug-free way to get buzzed and party. Besides cacao powder, the product contains the stimulants ginkgo biloba, taurine and guarana. According to Coco Loko’s website, the effects of a snort will last from 30 minutes to an hour, and "will produce an elevated mood and a state of euphoria similar to the feeling of ecstacy."

One supply of Coco Loko, which has only been on the market for a month, costs $19.99. This is a price that children can easily afford, which has only further raised the concerns of parents and lawmakers.

The chocolate snuff is labelled as a "dietary supplement," and this is not a category reviewed by the FDA for safety or effectiveness. Many dietary or medical products seek the “dietary supplement” classification to avoid FDA oversight and get their products to the market faster.

The FDA told the Washington Post that before it makes a decision on regulating Coco Loko, it will need to evaluate the product’s labeling, marketing, and intended use.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has also said it’s "not aware of any agency concerns related to chocolate inhalants."

So should you put down that Red Bull and do a line of Coco Loko?

While additional research needs to be done, doctors are already voicing concerns about huffing chocolate. Andrew Lane, director of the Johns Hopkins Sinus Center, told the Washington Post that "no one’s studied what happens if you inhale chocolate into your nose," but that there are serious concerns about the impact of chocolate in your sinus cavity. If solid material were to get stuck in your nose or the chocolate were to mix with your mucus it may create a paste that could block your sinuses.

More, Lane says that the medical community has raised numerous concerns in the past about the health effects of energy drinks, including heart palpitations and a rise in blood pressure. These effects could be exacerbated if a stimulant is inhaled instead consumed orally because it will have faster access to your bloodstream.

Doctors and lawmakers have remained silent on how or if injuries related to snorting chocolate will be covered by the Affordable Care Act or any potential GOP replacement.

Is snortable chocolate a gateway drug? Should the FDA evaluate "dietary supplements?" Do you think the government should get involved in this issue or do you think the Free Market will solve the problem? Tell your reps.

-- Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: aeomosion - Tiramisu.jpg) / Creative Commons)

Countable

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