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Loco for the Four Loko

four lokos on ice

courtesy of ghostdad/flickr

$2.50. 24-ounces. Caffeinated malt beverage. 12 percent alcohol content.  Available in fruity flavors. Alias: ‘Blackout in a Can’. You have just been introduced to the “Four Loko”.  

The “Four Loko” most recently took the spotlight after the hospitalization of nine Central Washington University students. Investigators had initially thought these students had been drugged, but now police say overconsumption of “Four Loko” is to blame. However, this isn’t the first time this alcoholic energy drink has been in the news. It made headlines earlier this month when “Four Loko” was banned on the campus of New Jersey’s Ramapo College after it sent 23 students to the hospital within a number of weeks. It also appeared months ago when the marketing tactics of it and similar drinks were questioned. Perhaps we should have listened then…

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Telemedicine provides inmates with specialists

Photo taken from the outside of a prison

Photo by Dana Gonzales. From Creative Commons.

HIV is very prevalent in the prison population (four times more than the overall population), yet prisons aren’t especially easy to access for health care screening. Because of this, prisons in Illinois are taking a new approach to making health care professionals available: telemedicine.

Telemedicine is only one aspect of a new Illinois program that was awarded $7 million as part of a National Institute on Drug Abuse grant program. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Cook County Jail are going to examine the impact of using telemedicine to provide inmates with HIV care. According to a Chicago Sun Times article by Monifa Thomas,

“Two months ago, UIC launched a pilot program with the Illinois Department of Corrections in which UIC specialists see inmates at prisons via a secure video link. A nurse is in the room with the inmate, and doctors have access to an exam camera and a stethoscope that allows them to remotely hear a patient’s heart rate.”

In the article, one of the lead researchers in the study pointed out that previously inmates only had access to generalist physicians and did not have access to specialist care. This program combats that.

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