Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sleep-inducing "brownies": the new "bath salts"?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 3, 2011 at 6:00 PM

My favorite convenience store sells about four different kinds of "anti-energy" drinks. They're based loosely on the idea of drank, lean, sizzurp, or whatever you want to call codeine-laced soft drinks (with a hint of, say, grape Jolly Ranchers) — basically cough syrup, and maybe booze, and candy. The "safe" versions are Monster-sized cans of "EXTREME RELAXATION BEVERAGES" — with melatonin, Valerian root, chamomile and rose hips (cute!). One brand, Drank, has a slogan: "Slow your roll."

Based on this arbitrary crackdown on snacks called Lazy Larry, I fear Drank's days may also be numbered.


What is the fate of our ... comfortable-looking, cake-shaped friend? Not good, looks like...

Kim Edward LeBlanc with LSU's Health Sciences Center School of Medicine told WWL-TV's Tania Dali that the brownies use melatonin as a food additive — a big FDA no-no. The FDA sent this letter to the Memphis-based HBB LLC, which produces Lazy Larry brownies, and wrote, "It is the responsibility of a manufacturer to ensure that foods the firm markets are safe and otherwise in compliance with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements."

As of last Thursday, HBB has two weeks to respond.

The market for "non-drug" highs is dwindling in Louisiana. At least its shelf life is. "Bath salts" and "incense" had a brief run before being run out of state by Gov. Bobby Jindal and lawmakers. But just last month, Jindal signed another measure to ensure anyone caught with the "fake" drugs land in the same boat as Schedule I users — anyone caught with pot, cocaine and ecstasy, among others. That measure followed Jindal's emergency ruling in January that outlawed the manufacture or sale of bath salts.

Now the latest target (essentially, synthetic pot brownies) is the subject of "weird American stuff!" Daily Mail coverage, and NPR checked it out back in March — according to that report, poison control centers had more 5,000 melatonin-related calls in 2009, though most calls concerned children.

The snacks do, however, prominently feature a warning label. Sensitive adults take note:


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